Our Horticultural Apprenticeships

We’ve recently launched our Viewscape Apprenticeship Scheme designed to provide careers in horticulture for people aged 18 to 24. So if you want to work outdoors and earn as you learn our new apprenticeship scheme might be exactly what you are hunting for.

Our Mission

Our mission is bold. We aim to train the future stars of our industry by delivering dynamic and highly-practical horticultural apprenticeships. Over two years, our apprentices undertake a broad range of horticultural training from our in-house experts while growing trees and shrubs for commercial sale at our nursery in Pulborough and developing and maintaining a stunning 17-acre estate in Charlwood, Surrey. We feel that it is vital to promote horticulture as a viable, and vibrant career path for young people in the UK. Working together we can develop a highly-skilled, qualified and motivated workforce ready to lead in horticulture for years to come. We plan to provide work placements for all of our apprentices after graduation, joining us at Architectural Plants, or, in the wider horticultural industry.

Dan, Kaelan and Amelia with Jay

Train at two amazing locations

You could join our current apprentices working across two amazing locations: Our 32 acre nursery at Architectural Plants on the edge of the South Downs in Pulborough – and the stunning 17-acre privately owned estate in Charlwood, Surrey.

Our Nursery is the principal base for our Viewscape Apprentices. With a reputation for designing and planting exceptional gardens from an extensive collection of Japanese and European topiary, exotic and tropical specimens, screening plants and rarities, our apprentices have an incredibly exciting environment in which to train. Guided by our team of experts they undertake a comprehensive programme of skills development acquiring specialist knowledge from placements across all of our nursery departments. With so many diverse opportunities there is real potential to find the career path to shape your future.

A view of our ‘Proper Nursery’
Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm) inside our Greenhouse
Our Liner House of rare plants
Multistem topiary – Laurus nobilis

At Architectural Plants our Viewscape Apprentices join our Planting Team, gaining valuable experience helping to construct the most breath-taking designs with the most exciting plants found on the planet. They learn the skills of our Creative Maintenance Team, learning to strip and tidy exotic palms and clip and train our range of topiary and Niwaki. They also further develop their commercial and specialist plant knowledge by working with our nursery production team with a chance to apply their new horticultural knowledge by spending time with our horticultural Sales Team and our customers. They learn about the accumulation of all this knowledge with our Garden Design Team and the planning and communication between nursery departments. The experience gained in this inspirational and fast-paced environment will help our apprentices develop the knowledge and resilience required for a long and successful career in the horticultural industry.

Our apprentices also work at the inspirational Russ Hill Farm, 17-acres of land adjacent to Gatwick airport on the Surrey/Sussex borders. Much of this land is given over to an ever expanding arboretum and sculptural landscaped designs that offer apprentices access to an extremely wide range of disciplines, all critical to a thorough understanding of horticultural practices.

Russ Hill Farm: ‘A Land of Adventure
Russ Hill Farm: beautifully clipped ancient Niwaki
Russ Hill Farm: landscaped to perfection

Russ Hill Farm has hundreds of varieties of trees and shrubs from all corners of the globe. Rare plants from the Far East, South America and Oceania, deciduous and evergreen trees, some heavily manicured, some more natural, some formally planted and some seemingly not. Through developing and maintaining these areas our apprentices not only learn how, what, and where to plant, but how to care for and manage young and mature trees and shrubs. There are four ponds ranging in size from modest to simply enormous, providing different environments for exploration and learning. There are also many stunning landscaped areas providing an entirely different canvas upon which our apprentices can build their knowledge.

Most recently we have begun the next vital stage of our planning. We have begun to develop a section of the site in Charlwood dedicated to producing mature stock to supply to Architectural Plants for their retail customers, providing additional income to support our apprenticeship programme. Here our apprentices will learn to grow trees and shrubs commercially, not only focusing on the development of the plants (pruning techniques, irrigation, pest control etc) but also gain a detailed understanding of the business aspects of commercial growing. 

Dan Hillen, our first apprentice, leads our second cohort in the maintenance of the new plants under the supervision of our experts. We’ll let you know all about the team’s progress and the expansion of this site in future posts.

New lines packed with potential
Dan among the Yuccas

The range of learning opportunities available at Architectural Plants and Russ Hill Farm not only gives our apprentices a deep understanding of how to work with plants but also a unique chance to experience the commercial aspects of horticulture in preparation for the many opportunities that await them in our industry upon graduation.

I had a few trials days and had so much fun I thought this could be a fantastic opportunity for me. I was so proud to become Viewscape’s very first apprentice!

Dan Hillen
Graduate Apprentice

Why a career in horticulture?

Contributing over £9 billion to the UK economy and employing over 300,000 people in a diverse range of roles, there are many opportunities available to young people in horticulture. However, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), 70% of businesses in the sector say they struggle to find the skilled workers they require and over 50% of under-25s think that horticulture is an unskilled career.

Furthermore, a 2016 survey by online student community The Student Room suggested that over 90% of young people have never even considered a career working with plants.

Amelia tidying a Yucca recurva
Kaelan at Russ Hill Farm

At Viewscape we want to help improve the perception of horticulture. Through our apprenticeships we showcase all that is great about the industry to help inspire new generations of skilled and motivated young people to join our sector.

This is a ambitious initiative designed to be a self-sufficient, not-for-profit, social enterprise generating income through the delivery of landscape garden services to private and commercial clients, and through the sale of plants grown by our very own apprentices. An income which will then be reinvested to further develop the scheme and provide more opportunities to young people interested in a career in horticulture.

We know that horticulture can provide a truly rewarding future.

Careers

There’s a role to suit everyone in the horticultural sector, no matter what your skills or experiences are. We’re committed to building a pipeline of talent capable of filling opportunities and maintaining our essential industry well into the future.

Stewardship

Understanding and working with plants promotes awareness and connection with our environment and in turn, creates greater environmental stewardship, helping to ensure that our natural environment, in all its forms, is in safe hands for generations to come.

Wellbeing

It is well researched how beneficial plants and green spaces are on our wellbeing. A career working with plants can encourage physical activity and improve mental health, enhance cognition and help develop the interpersonal skills we need to happy & healthy lives.