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Reasons to think about a career in horticulture

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Keen gardeners and growers of any age will discover developing a career in horticulture can be a rewarding, life-changing move. Working within a natural environment and leading an outdoor lifestyle can be a dream for many people, particularly large city dwellers used to living in crowded, perhaps cramped surroundings.

The horticultural sector is thriving in England and forecast to grow even more over the coming years. England currently has in excess of 14,000 horticulture businesses which are responsible for employing over 106,000 workers []. The industry is split into two areas: the ornamental plant, flower and tree production sector and food production, which involves growing veggies, fruit, salads or herbs. In total, the UK horticultural sector produced £1.8bn of fruit and veggies in the year 2011. Meanwhile, the ornamental plants industry is valued around £1bn and adds value to the thriving UK garden industries which contribute a further £9bn annually to the economy.

Different horticultural careers to consider

There are lots of different horticultural career opportunities, these include:

  • Irrigation / Spraying Jobs

  • Production and management in ornamental nurseries and plant centres

  • Garden centre manager

  • Agronomist

  • Landscape gardener and garden designer

  • Historic or botanic gardens or park manager

  • Park ranger

  • Groundsman

  • Landscape architect

  • Tree officer

  • Arboriculturalist

  • Vegetable and produce grower

  • Forestry worker

  • Fresh produce management

  • Greenkeeper

  • Garden centre buyer

As you can see from the above, the horticultural sector is extremely diverse, and it is also one of the larger UK employers. When you research horticultural careers a little further you'll find that work can range from simple gardener jobs to specialist scientific roles. And, there are lots of incredible opportunities to consider.

Even in the largest cities, plants and trees are integral to the environment. Trees in parks and on city streets and plants on lamp post baskets and containers all combine to brighten up the dullest urban areas. Sports grounds and playing fields also need the care and attention that can only be provided by specialists. Out in the countryside, the open environment and public woods, forests and areas of outstanding natural beauty also need the care of professionals in order to thrive and offer visitors the most pleasant experiences.

Vast importance of horticulture

Horticulture plays an increasingly important role in the contemporary world due to the effects of climate change and associated water shortages. Growing world populations mean that food production and the most effective use of land resources are also vital to all global economies. Many of the most prestigious scientific organisations now recognise that food security will be one of the most important challenges to face mankind in the coming years.

This means that establishing a career in the horticultural sector, particularly in food production, will mean you've developed in a role that will always be in demand and offers longer term job prospects. UK consumers are also becoming more interested in growing their own fruit and vegetables at home and look for greater advice, products and resources to help them.

Social and therapeutic horticulture is also becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Many health authorities and clinicians recognise that spending time gardening and working with plants offers a number of benefits to mentally ill or physically ill patients. This is opening up an entirely new career pathway for experts in horticulture and can be an extremely rewarding role.

When it comes to building a horticultural career in urban environments, local councils and businesses are also recognising just how important greening the landscape is for the future of the city. The recent appointment of a UK Tree Champion and initiatives to plant more trees in cities and rural environments have highlighted that everybody should take some social responsibility and help reverse the damaging effects of climate change []. This makes it even more important for tree surgeons and parks and gardens officers to be appointed over the coming years.

Many businesses are creating wildlife-friendly living walls and roof structures as a contribution towards urban greening and these initiatives will only increase in future.

Horticulturalists also play a vital role in beautifying private and public spaces and building a career in landscaping or garden design will always prove successful and in demand. Even when recessions bite hard, landowners and owners of public spaces need to maintain and improve the grounds of their properties. This means launching a career in this arena could be a lucrative option and offer many opportunities to set up in business or work desired hours. Even private homeowners with the tiniest backyards and gardens appreciate the benefits of professional garden design, particularly when their available time is limited.

Benefits of a career in horticulture

A career in horticulture offers stability and opportunities to diversify and specialise in different areas. In essence, this type of career gives anybody the chance to work in a variety of global locations and very often at times to suit their desired lifestyles.

One of the major benefits of working with plants and trees is creating areas of beauty and watching the plants bloom and grow. It is a life that can be extremely satisfying to many people and offers the chance to work outdoors on a regular or even daily basis. Working within a natural environment can help build levels of happiness and all-round mental stability that office workers just don't achieve within their working lives.

There are such a huge variety of job openings and potential career pathways within the horticultural sector, so new entrants are sure to find the role that's most appealing to them.

You don't necessarily need qualifications to work within horticulture, although formal degree courses and training from recognised providers like the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) can be beneficial.

It's easy to recognise that horticulture will play an increasingly important role in the UK and throughout the world over the coming years. Launching a career in this thriving sector will be a challenge relished by people of any age.

Here at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists, we are experts at finding the best roles for professionals in farming, agriculture and horticulture, plus many more rural employment opportunities. Take some time to browse our website to check out all our current vacancies. You can visit our website here: