Landscape Operative

Landscape Operatives are often employed by small companies working in conjunction with garden designers or landscape architects but can also be part of larger organisations.

Hard-landscaping includes the establishment of hard surfaces and structures in addition to the establishment of cultivated areas.


  • An apprenticeship is a job with training that allows individuals to gain a national qualification whilst they work and earn.
  • As an apprentice you will earn the appropriate national minimum wage
  • You will attend college one day a week, where you will receive practical and theoretical training
  • The rest of the training and assessment is undertaken in the workplace

Available Courses

  • Level 2 & 3 Landscape Operative

    About the course

    The landscape construction option focuses on the installation of features and structures; application of landscape materials as well as supporting site management.

    Work is generally based outside and undertaken throughout the year, so apprentices will frequently work outside in all weathers

    Working and learning in the horticulture and landscape industries is rewarding, offers a diverse range of employment opportunities and includes a range of skills that are transferable into many other industries.

    The following are the core behaviours that all apprentices are expected to demonstrate:

    Health & Safety – Have a safety-led mindset for self, colleagues & the public.
    Customer care – Show dignity, respect & empathy when dealing with others, including clients, the public & colleagues.
    Learn – Learn behaviours, skills & knowledge effectively from craftspeople & managers.
    Attitude – Have a positive and motivated attitude towards work, including having pride in one’s work.
    Decision making – Adopt a pragmatic timely approach by identifying appropriate solutions to practical problems.

    Apprentices will also have a core knowledge of:

    Industry understanding – The importance and benefits of green-space & the types of horticultural skills appropriate to different businesses & cultural sites.

    Business – Business policies, vision & values. Workers’ contribution to earning profit & awareness of commercial pressure. Understanding of how project management informs a team to achieve objectives.

    Communication – The importance of clear communication. Knowledge of different forms of communication aids & their use. The value of effective & timely communication in customer care.

    Health & Safety – Health & Safety regulation, legislation, policy & procedure & the responsibility of workers. Knowledge of hazards & working to strict health, safety, quality & environmental (HSQE) processes particularly appropriate to horticultural sites.

    Environmental – Waste & waste reduction/recycling & environmental best practice. Prevention & control of local pollution incidents.

    Plant growth & development – Plant nutrition & plant requirements. The principles of germination, photosynthesis, respiration & transpiration (the science of plant growth). How to care for plants correctly in different environments. The relationship between environmental conditions & plant growth.

    Tools, equipment & machinery – Correct tools, equipment & machinery required for the job & the importance of maintenance/regular checks of these items to ensure they remain in good working order. The legal requirement of training by a competent person & familiarity with operator training & certification requirements.

    Vegetation control – How to control vegetation & methods of site clearance & removal of vegetation.

    Biosecurity – Biosecurity & phytosanitary measures for pests and diseases & how these apply to work sites. Awareness of invasive alien species that may impact work methods.

    Plant identification – Plant identification by scientific names including genus, species & cultivar. Know why & how plants are identified.

    Soil science – Why, when & how to cultivate soils for differing purposes. Different growing media & mulches. How to modify soils for plant growth & understand the reasons for cultivation & drainage.

    Plant health – Basic pest & disease identification/symptoms and control methods

    For the landscape construction role, additional knowledge & skills are also required. Apprentices should have knowledge of:

    • Methods used to measure & set out a site e.g. use of tape measures & measuring wheels, defining features by using string lines or aerosol markers, the principles in defining site levels using manual or electrical equipment.

    • Marking out hazards such as services. Interpretation of construction drawings & specifications e.g. quantities, measurements & positioning.

    • The safe use of abrasive wheels for cutting hard landscape materials during construction.

    • Water feature construction methods e.g. linings, pumps, water courses.

    Skills – Apprentices should be able to:

    • Install various hard-landscape construction features & structures e.g. paths, patios, fences & walls. This will include basic brick laying, paving, timber decking, setting levels, services identification.

    • Free hand cutting & bench cutting of hard landscape materials during construction using abrasive wheels.

    • Assess & repair hard structures; evaluate hazards & damage and if appropriate carry out repair or report. Examples include broken drainage, rotten timber, cracked paving stone, frost damage brick work.

    During your apprenticeship, you will be expected to put together a portfolio of work as assignments on the above modules. This will be used as the basis of a professional discussion that you will have with an end-point assessor.  This will have to be stored electronically – We use Smart Assessor.

    Core Qualifications

    The following qualifications will be required prior to taking the end point assessment.

    • Emergency First Aid – Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work.
    • Pesticides –  Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides Guidance OR Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides
    • English & maths – Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths must achieve Level 1 and take the test for Level 2 before taking the end-point assessment.

    Entry Requirements

    English & maths – Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths must achieve Level 1 and take the test for Level 2 before taking the end-point assessment.

    To undertake an apprenticeship, you must have an employer. If you do have a job and your employer is keen for you to do an apprenticeship, then please email or call on the details below and we will get in contact with you and your employer to arrange a meeting.

    If you have not already got a job, then take a look at our apprenticeship vacancies here or contact us on the details below.

    Telephone: 01628 827438

    Course Duration

    The typical duration for this apprenticeship is 24 months.