More about Jackie
Jackie Setchfield studied our FdSc Horticulture and won a Gold Award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 with NTU.
Jackie shares her experience at Nottingham Trent University.
The Brackenhurst appeal
“Coming from a previous managerial career in the retail sector, I was keen to change direction and start studying in an area I followed with passion, with a view to pursuing as a career - the horticulture sector.
Having attended Brackenhurst for a previous 3 courses; RHS 2, RHS 3 and City and Guilds in Garden Design, as well as volunteering in the walled garden for 5 months, staying on to complete a more in depth qualification appealed as it supported my desire to enter the horticulture work place as a qualified professional. The rural setting and facilities meant I was able to work in an environment more akin to a practical workplace as opposed to studying in an entirely city-based classroom.
“Course strengths include the variety of subjects covered and the flexible pace of studying. I have changed my status from part time to full then back again as my own business commitments have changed.
A further strength would be the extra mile that lecturers will go to in supporting your personal development and projects, and their collective industry links and experience.
“Having set up my own garden design business 2 years previously, the new skills I developed were used to give more equity to my professional offer, for example, draughting skills for garden design and horticultural knowledge for ad hoc consultancy.
"I won a gold medal for my design at RHS Chelsea Garden Show 2013 with our entry 'A Hebridean Weaver's Garden' and as a result I am in demand for my garden design services without having to advertise which is great.
Work experience placements
“The necessity of a placement was introduced through the industry placement module in the second year. After my first year I saw the opportunity to work in top horticulturally esteemed gardens under a student internship badge, RHS Wisley, RHS Rosemoor, Castle Hill private estate; and more recently, Marwood Hill Gardens, home to 3 national plant collections. Just being able to quote the places I have worked gives me credibility with clients and potentially future employers. It also reminded me of why I love working in horticulture, amidst floral and vegetable perfection.
Tremendous support from staff
“During the road to Chelsea Flower Show 2013 I had tremendous support from key staff that recognised that I had additional volumes of work drawing on my study time and focus. They not only advised me practically but enabled my studies to be more flexible. Extra tutorials have been available on a one to one to enable me to keep up to date, and as issues arise through my business or I have wanted refresh my skills with equipment I have felt able to approach lectures for help.
“I have done two shifts of lambing, picked sloes for my gin from the on campus hedgerows, and had tractor driving lessons - all of these pleasurable rural life activities have helped enrich my time at Brackenhurst. Access to the greenhouses and facilities and a peaceful learning atmosphere also added to a compelling place to study.
It’s never too late
“It’s never too late to follow a new path. Learning is invigorating and horticulture is so diverse it could take you almost anywhere with global placements including working in olive groves in Tuscany and plant monitoring in Peru. It’s what you make it, but the lecturers will do their upmost to help you decide where to you want to go, and how to get there.
My own garden design business
“My career plan is to continue with my garden design business, but also to supplement it with a more scientific career path, as well as work through as many internships in inspiring places as I can manage.
Specific skills learnt for the future
- CAD and computer designing
- A professional edge to my services
- Confidence in the plant world
- Comprehensive knowledge across a wide horticultural spectrum."