Find out about subsidised transport from Newark to the Brackenhurst campus for NTU BTEC students
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.
Download a course brochure
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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.
You will also undertake an employability programme which includes personal development, job seeking skills and additional horticultural skills. You will also be able to gain 80 hours of work experience.
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
- Business Management in The Land-based Sector
- Undertake Identification, Selection and Use of Ornamental Plants
- Establish and Manage Exterior Plant Display
- Undertake Estate Skills
- Undertake Horticultural Production Techniques – Protected Crops
Contact time / typical timetable
You'll be time-tabled for 16 hours a week over three days and complete in one academic 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.
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
- Best in category at GWL.
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 campus 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
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:
- working in a heritage garden
- owning a gardening/landscaping business
- progress on to a higher education course in horticulture or garden design.
- garden designers
- landscape managers
- community and therapeutic horticulture
- garden centre and nursery managers
- restaurant kitchen garden.
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
- market gardening and food production
- ornamental production
- retail/garden centre.
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 rstates 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
- restaurant chefs
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.
Eddie Curry, Head of Parks and Open Spaces at Nottingham City Council, said:
"We welcome job applications from NTU Brackenhurst campus students as their training has equipped them with high-quality horticultural skills and prepared them well for the world of work. A number of former students employed at entry level have impressed us so much that they have been offered additional training and support to enable them to take on extra responsibilities and wider roles, such as Park Ranger and Trainer/Assessor for horticultural apprentices. Brackenhurst alumni also crop up regularly amongst the contacts we deal with from our partner organisations, and they too have achieved success and professional respect within their roles."
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.
You'll need four GCSEs at grade C or above, one of which needs to be English or Maths. (We will consider a grade D in English or Maths on the condition that you agree to work towards a GCSE retake at Brackenhurst.)
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 day course brochures and website information to make an informed choice.
2) Request an application form - download a PDF copy here , or call our admissions team on 01636 817099 to receive one in the post
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 campus)
See the latest fees and funding information for this course.
Nick Cooke is a full time mature student studying our BTEC Diploma in Horticulture
Fun learning experience
"At times it is difficult to remember that you are studying - in all of my learning experiences I have never had so much fun!
"Being taught by inspirational, motivated and very experienced tutors in a truly incredible setting certainly makes every lecture a genuine pleasure.
Theory and practical
"With a fantastic mix of theory and practical sessions my aim to become a well-rounded gardener is being fulfilled. I am developing skills that make me employable and credible amongst other horticulturists in the industry, and at the same time I am really enjoying it!"
Read more student profiles