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Horticulture Level 3 at Wiltshire College

Course description

The horticultural sector is one of the most technically advanced industries in existence and often includes applied science, technology, machinery use, turf, landscape/interior design, retail and business management, all associated with the intensive cultivation and maintenance of ornamental and edible plants and green spaces. 
Horticulture is a profession often associated with the term gardening, but includes so much more, offering a rewarding, challenging and enjoyable career caring for the environment.
This level 3 course provides a structure to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of the many and varied aspects of professional horticulture, seeking to further develop both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in a wide variety of subject areas.
The qualification, when strengthened by a suitable period of practical industry experience, provides the foundation for individuals to work initially at a supervisory level. 
This course covers a wide range of practical topics as well as knowledge and understanding of various horticultural concepts.
You will complete a period of work experience as part of the course, this will normally occur on campus.
Facilities on campus include horticultural and machinery workshops, a range of glasshouses and polythene tunnels, landscaped grounds with a vast range of plants, trees and shrubs, not forgetting the extensive walled garden, the zoological garden, mixed woodlands and a range of sports pitches.

Course content

There are 18 units of study for the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture. Students generally study 9 units in the first year and the remaining 9 units in the second year:
For example:
  • Undertake an Investigative Project in the Land-based Sector 
  • Business Management in the Land based Sector 
  • Understand the Principles of Plant Science 
  • Understand the Principles of Soil Science 
  • Undertake and Review Work Related Experience in the Land-based Industries 
  • Understand the Principles and Practices of Landscape and Garden Design 
  • Undertaking Land-based Machinery Operations 
  • Undertake Identification, Selection and Use of Ornamental Plants 
  • Establish and Manage Exterior Plant Displays 
  • Establish and Manage Interior Plant Displays 
  • Understand Historical Influences on the Development of Gardens 
  • Manage Turf in Parks and Gardens 
  • Understand and Carry out Identification, Planting and Care of Trees 
  • Construct and Restore Walls 
  • Undertake Retail Merchandising for the Land-based Sector 
  • Undertake Estate Skills 
  • Construct and Maintain Decorative Landscape Features 
  • Understand the Principles and Identify the Signs of Pets, Diseases and Disorders 


Entry requirements

4 GCSEs grade A*-C including English, Maths and preferably Science or equivalent (or Merit or Distinction in a related subject at Level 2)
A good reference
A satisfactory interview


Assessment is through written and practically based assignments together with many and varied practical skills assessments. It should be noted that written assignments are mainly research based and are academic in nature. These are generally in-depth pieces of work and form the main method of the awarding body written assessment requirements. Some of the input time required to accomplish the written assignments is undertaken outside the college day which means the student is also expected to work at home, although some time will be devoted to these pieces of work in class and practical session time.

In addition to the time spent in class, it is recommended students spend 3-4 hours per week in private study in assignment/test preparation. The time requirement is very much dependant on the individual and their experience of researching and writing assignments. 

Students at this level are expected to take full responsibility for their own learning and development, this level 3 qualification equates to 3 A levels.

The final qualification will be a The final qualification upon successful completion will be BTEC Level 3 90 Credit/Extended Diploma in Horticulture.

Future opportunities

The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture provides the opportunity to gain access to Higher Education and Degree programmes or onto apprenticeships in horticulture with an employer.
Employment opportunities could include:
  • Skilled gardener employed by, for example, the National Trust, local authority, private company or estate
  • Horticultural technician
  • Self-employed gardener
  • Senior craftsperson/manager
  • Garden centre/retail employment
  • Plant production nursery
  • Head Gardener
  • Assistant Head Gardener
  • Enterprise manager
  • Instructor/demonstrator/trainer assessor
  • Garden and landscape designer


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Wiltshire College directly.

Last updated date: 24 June 2016

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