Level 3 Horticulture
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About this course

The horticultural sector is one of the most technically advanced industries in existence and often includes applied science, technology, machinery use, turf, landscape/interior design, retail and business management, all associated with the intensive cultivation and maintenance of ornamental and edible plants and green spaces.

Horticulture is a profession often associated with the term gardening, but includes so much more, offering a rewarding, challenging and enjoyable career caring for the environment.

This level 3 course provides a structure to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of the many and varied aspects of professional horticulture, seeking to further develop both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in a wide variety of subject areas.

The qualification, when strengthened by a suitable period of practical industry experience, provides the foundation for individuals to work initially at a supervisory level.


What will I learn?

This course covers a wide range of practical topics as well as knowledge and understanding of various horticultural concepts.

You will complete a period of work experience as part of the course, this will normally occur on campus.

Facilities on campus include horticultural and machinery workshops, a range of glasshouses and polythene tunnels, landscaped grounds with a vast range of plants, trees and shrubs, not forgetting the extensive walled garden, the zoological garden, mixed woodlands and a range of sports pitches.

There are 18 units of study for the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture. Students generally study 9 units in the first year and the remaining 9 units in the second year:

For example:

  • Undertake an Investigative Project in the Land-based Sector
  • Business Management in the Land based Sector
  • Understand the Principles of Plant Science
  • Understand the Principles of Soil Science
  • Undertake and Review Work Related Experience in the Land-based Industries
  • Understand the Principles and Practices of Landscape and Garden Design
  • Undertaking Land-based Machinery Operations
  • Undertake Identification, Selection and Use of Ornamental Plants
  • Establish and Manage Exterior Plant Displays
  • Establish and Manage Interior Plant Displays
  • Understand Historical Influences on the Development of Gardens
  • Manage Turf in Parks and Gardens•Understand and Carry out Identification, Planting and Care of Trees
  • Construct and Restore Walls
  • Undertake Retail Merchandising for the Land-based Sector
  • Undertake Estate Skills
  • Construct and Maintain Decorative Landscape Features
  • Understand the Principles and Identify the Signs of Pets, Diseases and Disorders


Entry requirements

4 GCSEs grade A*-C including English, Maths and preferably Science or equivalent (or Merit or Distinction in a related subject at Level 2)

A good reference

A satisfactory interview

Study, assessment and qualifications

All units identified on your programme assessment plan must be passed to achieve this qualification.

Your overall grade will be calculated using points generated by each unit. Each unit generates a number of points depending on whether you achieve a pass, merit or distinction.

These points are collated to calculate your overall grade, which will be a Pass, a Merit, a Distinction or Distinction*. You must pass all your units to achieve at least a Pass grade overall.

Additional costs and information

Educational visits form an integral part of the course. For example, students will have the opportunity to visit the likes of Kew Gardens, RHS Wisley, Stourhead Gardens.

A contribution charge of £90 will be payable at the start of the course; this covers most (but not all) of your course visits in the first year and is non-returnable. A charge of £60 will be made to cover educational visits in the second year.

There will be an opportunity to take part in the annual study tour to Holland. Although this is not a course requirement it is a useful way of broadening knowledge and experience of the horticulture industry since the proposed 4-day educational visit will include a tour of a Flora Holland Auction Centre, the floating flower markets in Amsterdam, along with other venues. Dates and costs to be confirmed; we plan to have details available at the start of the course.

Please note it is not necessary to acquire the items below prior to commencing the course, since on your arrival we will advise you on the best types to purchase:

  • Overalls/boiler Suit (not nylon)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Steel toe-capped boots (or shoes)
  • Secateurs and Horticultural knife

The above is likely to cost approximately £90.

The course team recommends a small number of text books for use on the course; although these are available in the College library you may wish to acquire your own copies, guidance will be given at the commencement of the course.


What could I do next?

The C&G Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture (540) provides the opportunity to gain access into fulltime employment or apprenticeships in horticulture.

Employment opportunities could include:
• Skilled gardener employed by, for example, the National Trust, local authority, private company or estate
• Horticultural technician
• Self-employed gardener
• Senior craftsperson/manager
• Garden centre/retail employment
• Plant production nursery
• Head Gardener
• Assistant Head Gardener
• Enterprise manager
• Instructor/demonstrator/trainer assessor
• Garden and landscape designer

Apprenticeships and Adult Education Funded Courses
The College’s Adult funded courses and apprenticeships prior to 1st May 2017 and apprenticeships with non-levy paying employers post 1st May 2017, are funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and part financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund (ESF). ESF supports activities to extend employment opportunities and develop a skilled workforce.