NEWS: Brackenhurst campus features in the BBC TWO series the Great British Garden Revival - find out more.
This qualification enables you to take the first step on your horticulture career journey whether you aspire to:
- work in a heritage garden
- set up your own business
- progress on to a higher education course in horticulture or garden design.
Our level three horticulture course offers a broad horticultural education and provides an extremely practical approach for those wishing to enter the industry.
Why choose this course?
- You'll develop practical and technical skills that employers are looking for.
- You'll gain a Level 3 qualification that will enable you to progress to our higher education and foundation degree courses in horticulture and garden design.
- You'll gain valuable work experience opening up a range of career options in a variety of industry settings.
- You'll have the opportunity to get involved with current horticultural research and exciting design projects.
- You'll get the chance to be part of our award winning horticulture team and visit national shows and competitions.
- You'll be able to use our outstanding facilities on our campus estate which is part of the DEFRA Environmental Stewardship scheme that supports effective environmental management of farm land and countryside estates.
Did you know that NTU?
- won a Gold Award at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2013 - read all about it
- achieved previous garden design awards at the Harrogate Flower Show
- is one of the largest providers of land-based courses in the UK, and Brackenhurst has been delivering education for over 60 years.
What our students say
"I found the course to be a life changing experience. I learnt many new skills thanks to all the staff."
Former BTEC Horticulture student
"I have found the course extremely interesting and enjoyable and it has provided me with an excellent all round knowledge. This has given me the confidence to either set up my own business venture or seek employment in horticulture. Brackenhurst itself provides an ideal environment to study for this course; the combination of engaging tutors in beautiful surroundings make for a highly stimulating experience."
BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture
How will I learn?
This course is delivered with a strong emphasis on practical activity. Industry representatives and guest speakers contribute to the course content, ensuring you develop the skills necessary for a career in horticulture. You'll undertake a mixture of practical sessions, demonstrations and class-based seminars.
- Full-time: one year
- Part-time: two years
What will I study?
- Investigative Project in the Land-based Sector
- Principles of Plant Science
- Principles of Soil Science
- Identification, Planting and Care of Trees
- Tree and Shrub Pruning and Maintenance
- Review work Experience in the Land-based Industries.
- Business Management in The Land-based Sector
- Undertake Identification, Selection and Use of Ornamental Plants
- Establish and Manage Exterior Plant Displays
- Maintain Turf in Parks and Gardens
- Undertake Estate Skills
- Manage Plant Propagation Activities
- Undertake Horticultural Production Techniques – Protected Crops
Contact time / typical timetable
If you are full-time you'll be time-tabled for 16 hours a week over three days and complete in one academic year. If you study part-time you'll study over two academic years and you'll be time-tabled for one and a half days per week each year. You will be expected to put in additional study hours of approximately three to eight hours each week.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments are spread throughout the academic year. Assessment methods vary and include:
- posters, leaflets
- practical demonstrations
- plant identification
- project work books and portfolio’s
- lab files and survey work.
During the course there will be a number of visits to gardens, nurseries, arboretums, horticultural businesses and events that will be an integral part of your course. We also run a programme of visits, guest speakers and advisers as part of a week of Horticultural Careers Activities.
How many places are available on this course? 20
About our horticulture facilities
Facilities on campus include an industry standard glasshouse complex, student plots and plant identification garden, modern classrooms, laboratories and teaching facilities, 200 hectare country estate, historic grounds in an eclectic range of styles including the Victorian Walled Garden, Victorian greenhouse range and peach case.
About Brackenhurst campus
Our beautiful rural Brackenhurst campus is a truly unique and special place to learn. Located near the historic market town of Southwell and just 14 from Nottingham city centre, Brackenhurst is an idyllic working farm estate with a mixture of woodland, wetland, arable crops, Victorian hall and walled gardens. It offers purpose-built teaching facilities including a glass greenhouse complex, student plots and plant identification gardens, and specialist laboratories.
New student accommodation is also available and students have on-site access to a library, careers service, computing facilities, shop, cafe and student bar. We have a lively community of students of all ages studying BTEC's, National Programmes, higher education degrees and postgraduate research.
What our students say
"Being taught by inspirational, motivated and very experienced tutors in a truly incredible setting certainly makes every lecture a genuine pleasure."
Nick Cook, Full time mature student studying our BTEC Diploma in Horticulture
Great career alternative to A-levels
The BTEC Level Three Diploma in Horticulture is a great alternative to A-level study for students who intend to shape a career in the horticultural sector. Students have gone on to have careers as:
- garden designers
- landscape managers
- horticultural therapists
- garden centre and nursery managers.
While others have progressed into higher education.
Other employment possibilities range from self-employment and own businesses to jobs within organisations such as:
- local authorities
- the Groundwork Trust
- the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
- retail chains
- landscape contractors.
Progression opportunities into higher education
This course prepares learners to enter employment or to progress on to Higher education; achieving a Merit; Pass grade in the Diploma will give you direct entry to our FdSc Horticulture and FdSc Horticulture: Garden Design or to further studies on bursary schemes and placements in the UK and abroad.
Potential employment destinations
- Propagation and Production Horticulture Businesses
- Retail Chains
- Design Companies
- Landscaping, Construction and Maintenance Companies
- Self-employed Freelancer / Own Business
- Historic Country Estates and Heritage Gardens
- Local Authority Parks and Gardens
- Social and Therapeutic Horticulture
- Community Gardens
- Plant Collections and Botanic Gardens
- Research and Development Departments
- Teaching in Colleges and Universities
Career development and volunteer opportunities
We have a range of links with many local employers and organisations and can help you find a work experience placement. We also have opportunities on site to work with our volunteer group in the Victorian walled garden, and you can get involved with events and competitions and with a local social enterprise growing cut flowers in a therapeutic setting.
What our students say
"Changing your career in your thirties or beyond can be a daunting prospect. I was looking at nearly 20 years’ service in an office and it was depressing me!
"Coming on to this horticulture course was the best thing I ever did. When my course finishes I hope to start a new career as a gardener in a country-house setting, with an aim of building up my experience and eventually becoming a head gardener. This course has given me the knowledge to do the work, it is up to me to put in the hard work and gain the experience necessary to make a success of it."
BTEC Diploma in Horticulture
Get involved and volunteer
There are opportunities throughout the course to get involved with volunteer projects and extra activities to supplement your CV.
- There are lots of opportunities to progress onto bursary schemes such as the Historic and Botanic Gardens Bursary Scheme, Professional Gardeners Guild, The Susan Pearson Bursary, local nurseries, estates, community gardens, and Nottingham City and County Council.
- We have strong links with local authority, National Trust, community gardens, local social enterprise, private estates.
- There are opportunities for placements and employment including the Garden Club of America RHS Interchange Fellowship.
Work experience modules
Our work experience module means you undertake 300 hours of real life work experience on a short placement. The module brings in machinery and construction skills as well as additional fruit and vegetable growing, glasshouse and specialist skills.
"I am currently working in a placement in Myddelton House Gardens, I am loving it! And I have applied for further training. Coming up, I have an interview for Oxford Botanic for a year traineeship, so hopefully I will get the job! In my opinion, the Diploma is the best course I ever done; it has helped me so much and has given me the key to start my new career."
Ruth G. Martin
BTEC Diploma in Horticulture
You will need four GCSEs including Maths, English and a Science at grade C or above. Equivalent qualifications will be considered. Applications are welcome from mature and international students.
How to apply in four easy steps
1) Choose your course. Use our Open Days, course brochures and website information to make an informed choice.
2) Request an application form - call our admissions team on +44 (0)1636 817099.
3) Complete your application form, asking a parent / guardian to sign it if you are under 18 and return to us at:
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Nottingham Trent University
4) We will then process your application and if you meet the criteria for the course, will invite you for an interview at our Brackenhurst campus to discuss your application in more detail with the course tutor.
If you have any questions or concerns when completing your application form, contact our Admissions Team at any time.
Confirming your place
Please let us know your GCSE results as soon as you receive them by calling +44 (0)1636 817099.
We can then confirm your place on the course and send you the relevant induction materials and start dates.
If you want to speak to us about this course, open days or how to apply then get in touch using the following details:
Telephone: +44 (0)1636 817099 (Brackenhurst)
Click here for the latest fees and funding information for this course.
Please note the following information for applicants
Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200
or Ask us a question
Ruth Gomez Martin
Studied: BTEC Diploma in Horticulture
Ruth Gomez Martin studied our BTEC Diploma in Horticulture at Brackenhurst
We asked Ruth about the course, her placement and aspirations for her future.
About the BTEC Horticulture course
"This course at Brackenhurst has given me the foundations for the understanding of horticulture. I feel equipped with the knowledge and the practical experience needed for a career in horticulture. It’s a very compact and complete course, managing to include extremely well all aspects of horticulture. It was perfect for my career change, giving me the key skills to be able to work doing something I really love.
Benefits of the placement
"Further training has been essential to settle down everything I have learnt. The placement allowed me to bring my learning to life. The Historic and Botanic Gardens Bursary Scheme (HBGBS) has been an invaluable experience. Helping me along the way toward a permanent career in horticulture, building my confidence and enhancing my skills.
The real world of work
"I am currently working in Myddelton House Gardens, Enfield, Middlesex, as part of the HBGBS. My role as a trainee differs every day and my involvement includes: glasshouse maintenance, plant research, building structures, lawn and ground maintenance, flower arrangement, participating in seminars, lectures and conferences, and interacting with other gardens. The experiences from the very start have been amazing, I feel so privileged to have this opportunity.
Future aspirations / long term dreams
"September this year, I will start another year training in Cambridge Botanic Garden. It will be a dream come true to work there for a full year, and I am very excited to start, but very sad to leave my current employment which has been life changing for me.
"I want to gain enough knowledge to be able to perform in my work to the highest possible level. In the future I would maybe like to do some travelling to explore habitat restoration project opportunities. I'm also involved in a garden restoration project which involves monitoring plant performance in trials and finding new ways to be more sustainable."
Read more student profiles