Course overview

Practical Horticulture Skills Diploma City of Bristol College

A part-time, one-year practical horticulture Level 1 course within the Bristol area. This course will give you the basic knowledge and essential practical skills to get started in the horticulture industry.

Upon completion of the course, you may progress to Level 2 or other related qualifications, start a job in horticulture, or use your skills at home or in your community.

This horticulture course is for adults aged 19+ and is a full qualification.

Additional information

Who is this course for?

This course is for adults aged 19 and over. It will suit people who enjoy working outdoors with plants and in green spaces.

It is suitable for people who want to develop their horticultural skills, begin a career in horticulture, or for people who simply want to explore their personal interest in gardening.

What you'll learn

Please find below the units that are delivered on this course.


• Prepare ground for sowing or planting under supervision
• Plant container grown subjects
• Prepare soil and apply organic mulch
• Water a bed, border or area of plants in containers
• Cultivate land by single digging or forking
• Apply fertiliser by hand to bare ground
• Determine soil pH with colour indicator test kit under supervision
• Plant flower bulbs for naturalisation or bedding
• Care for a planted area
• Prune hedges by hand
• Dead-head rose bushes, rhododendrons or other suitable shrubs
• Prune shrubs for winter stem colour
• Lift, divide and plant herbaceous perennials
• Propagate by stem cuttings
• Sow grass seed by hand
• Maintain hand tools
• Identify trees and shrubs
• Identify weeds

Course entry requirements

We will invite you to a course information meeting event where you will receive information, advice and guidance about the course you have applied for. This will be an opportunity for you to gain valuable information about the course and give you the opportunity to tour our excellent facilities and ask any questions you may have.

You will be asked to provide a copy of your last school report and/or a reference from an employer or relevant professional other. This is to ensure we can support you to be able to achieve well on the course.

You need 3 GCSEs at Grade 1 to Grade 3, including Maths and English, or a previous vocational qualification.

Some Level 1 qualifications in trade-based subjects may require a slightly higher entry requirement based on the specific content of the course.

Don’t have any formal qualifications? Don’t worry, let us know and we can assess you to ensure you will be able to achieve well on the course.

We are firmly committed to finding the right course for you to ensure you can flourish! Talk to us today if you have any concerns about the application process; we are here to help take you to the next level.

This is an intensive course which requires excellent attendance and commitment to study, at college and at home.

In order to join the course, you must be passionate about horticulture, have an interest in working with plants and soil outdoors and in all weathers.

A good level of physical fitness is also required as the course involves physically demanding tasks.

How is the course delivered and assessed?

You will attend college one day a week. For a year during term time the course will be taught through a combination of on-site delivery in the classroom and the Horticulture gardens plus home study each week.

This is a very practical course with some classroom-based sessions to provide necessary theory to enhance your learning.

You will be taught by experienced horticulture teachers at our specialist centre at South Bristol Skills Academy. You will undertake a variety of activities at the college.

Each topic you study on this course will be assessed separately throughout the year by mainly practical coursework and some short knowledge assessments. You must pass all assessments to achieve this qualification.

Future career and study opportunities

There are many organisations looking to employ people with a horticulture qualification including:

• Garden centres
• Public and private gardens
• Parks and green spaces
• Leisure venues
• Garden design and maintenance companies

You may prefer to set up your own business, for example, as a gardener, a specialist plant grower or an organic vegetable producer, as a landscape designer or as a maintenance gardener. Alternatively, you may want to put your knowledge to good use at home in your own garden.

Additional costs

As a City of Bristol College student, you may incur additional costs to attend your course. For example, it is likely you may need to pay for travel, your own safety boots, gloves and suitable wet and cold weather clothing and you will need your own writing materials and folders.

If you are on a limited income, you may be able to receive help from our Learner Support Funding Bursary.

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