Landscape Operative Standard Apprenticeship

The Landscape Operative Level 2 Apprenticeship will prepare you with the skills and knowledge to successfully work in the landscape industry.

The landscape industry is rewarding, offers a diverse range of employment opportunities and includes a range of skills that are transferrable into many other industries.

Horticulture and Landscape Operatives can be employed to work in public parks and gardens, green spaces and historic gardens, private gardens and estates or in production nurseries and retail outlets. Many businesses will be specialised in their activities, such as grounds maintenance (soft-landscape) or landscape construction (hard- landscape). Soft-landscaping includes the establishment and maintenance of plants and cultivated areas. Hard- landscaping includes establishment of hard surfaces and structures in addition to the establishment of plants in cultivated areas.

Work is generally based outside and undertaken throughout the year, so apprentices will frequently work outside in all weathers. Often people new to the industry will start in a ‘hands-on’ role covering a range of practical tasks, with specialist skills being learnt through progression. A wide range of machinery and tools are used and additional training may be required depending on the nature of the works undertaken.

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 transferrable into many other industries.

Industry understanding:the importance and benefits of green-space and different types of horticultural management appropriate to different sites.
Business: project processes, planning work scheduling and requirements to meet specification, working to a budget. Business operations and the impact of decisions, individual and team performance on commercial success. Have an awareness of the commercial environment including competitors and suppliers.
Communication:the importance of clear and unambiguous communication appropriate to different audiences. The application of different forms of communication aids and their use. Customer care:how to identify client and customer, understanding their needs and facilitating relations to progress business success. Managing teams to deliver customer service. The impact of customer care on the organisation.
Supervision: how to communicate with a team and provide work instructions. How to manage a team’s performance and provide feedback to team members and managers. Utilising communication and an understanding of people to work collaboratively and increase productivity and safety.
Health and safety: obligations for managing safely; health, safety, quality, environmental (HSQE) and welfare issues within a business and on site. Knowing how to identify potential hazards and manage the risks to fully comply with legislation and industry practice.
Environmental:waste hazards and waste reduction and recycling and environmental best practice. Impact of horticultural management on the environment. Protection of environment in each particular task.
Plant growth and development: plant nutrition and plant requirements. The principles of germination, photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration (the science of growth).
How to manage plants correctly in different environments: The relationship between environmental conditions and plant growth and associated management.
Tools, equipment and machinery: safe and correct operation and maintenance of tools and equipment commonly used in horticulture e.g. hand held, pedestrian and ride on in order to supervise work teams. Knowledge of requirements for purchase, hire or lease of such equipment and appropriate instruction to workers before use.
Vegetation control: vegetation and methods of site clearance and removal of vegetation. Biosecurity; identification, prevention and control measures for pests and diseases on work sites. The identification and control of invasive alien species through supervision work methods. Reporting procedures.
Plant identification and classification: plant identification by scientific names including genus, species and cultivar. Knowing why and how plants are identified. Know if plants are incorrectly labelled and how to use reference material to confirm identification.
Soils and growing media: soils, growing media, compost and mulches and their management and assessment.
Plant health: pest and disease identification and symptoms and control methods required on horticultural sites.
Protection of biodiversity and heritage: habitat and historic value of horticultural sites, awareness of protected species and landscapes and procedures to follow.
Assess, repair and maintain hard structures: daily management of hard structures, hazards associated with failure and damage and maintenance regimes.

  • Methods used to measure and set out a site e.g. use of tape measures and measuring wheels, dening features by using string lines or aerosol markers, the principles in dening site levels using manual or electrical equipment. 
  • Marking out hazards such as services. Interpretation of construction drawings and specifications e.g. quantities, measurements and positioning. The safe use of abrasive wheels for cutting hard landscape materials during construction.
  • Water feature construction methods e.g. linings, pumps, water courses.

On completion of this standard, apprentices progress into arboriculture with industry recognised qualifications.

You need to be employed in a suitable position and hold a minimum level 1 (GCSE 2 to 9) maths and English or Entry Level 3 on Initial assessment. If not already achieved, the apprentice will have to achieve Level 1 English and maths and take the test for level 2 prior to taking their end-point assessment.

As an apprentice with Activate Apprenticeships, you will have access to the following facilities at Activate Learning colleges:

Libraries and learning environments
Ability to borrow books and laptops
Digital resources and programmes
A student card, allowing you to take advantage of student discounts
Can apply for an Apprentice extra Totum Card
Advice and support services for apprentices includes:

Advice and Admissions
Learning Support
Student Support
Impartial careers advisors
One-to-one support
A college nurse
Free counselling service

Explore your career progression options

If you are considering applying for this programme, why not explore your potential career progression routes using our handy tool.

You can explore live job vacancies, next level qualifications and apprenticeship standards in your local area. Not only this but you can also watch videos of real people talking about their experiences of working in your specific industry or occupation of interest.

Why not visit us at an Open Event and find out more about this pathway.


Dawn Rigby

Tutor Dawn Rigby I believe that young children need a special environment in which to grow and deserve practitioners who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective and passionate about their learning.
Read Dawn's full story here

Why Merrist Wood College?

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  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 100+

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