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Horticultural Apprenticeship

Overview | Entry Requirements | How to Become an Apprentice Horticulturist | Programme Costs | Programme Structure | Programme Modules  | More Information 


The Apprenticeship in horticulture is for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in the horticultural sector or existing personnel employed in a horticultual facility that would like to gain a  recognised qualification. 

Programme Title: Horticultural Apprenticeship Programme
Duration: Two years
Certification: Higher Certificate in Horticulture
Awarding Body: Quality and Qualifications Ireland - QQI

Entry Requirements

All Apprentices must be employed full time by a 'Solas Approved Employer' in a Horticultural setting. Additional entry requirements, applicants must have:

Option 1:

Completed the Leaving Certificate (NFQ Level 5) with 5 subjects with a minimum of O6/H7 to include English or higher and a minimum of foundation Mathematics F6. 

Option 2:

Successfully completed Level 5 Certificate in Horticulture 5M2586 or equivalent major horticulture course.

Option 3: 

A candidate 17 years or older who does not hold the above qualifications as set out in categories 1 or 2 above, but who has a minimum of 48 weeks cumulative experience working in horticulture, is recommended by their employer and demonstrates the stated literacy and numeracy skills, will also be eligible to apply. 

Note -The English language entry requirements for the programme are CEF B2+ or equivalent. Candidates with English language levels below CEF B2+ must first reach this minimum standard before enrolling on the academic programme.

*A qualification deemed equivalent on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications to any of the qualifications listed above. 

*Note: Where there is a mathematical requirement at Leaving Certificate Established or Vocational Programme, obtaining a minimum grade O6/H7 in Maths, mature and international applicants may be required to demonstrate that they posess the required competency through the completion of a maths assessment. 

How to become an Apprentice Horticulturist

Step 1 Applicants must be directly employed by a SOLAS approved Employer based on your choice of stream. 

Step 2 The approved SOLAS Employer will start the registration process with SOLAS (The Further Education & Training Authority) 

Step 3 Applicants application will be assessed by Teagasc in consultation with SOLAS. 

Step 4 If successful, applicant will be registered as an apprentice both with SOLAS and Teagasc. 

Step 5 Apprentice will be called for induction training and off-the-job learning block released.

Approved Employers will also advertise vacancies when seeking to employ a new apprentice, listings can found by searching 'Horticulture' on the Generation Apprenticeship website -> https://apprenticeship.ie/career-seekers/jobs

Note Applicants may be called for an interview to discuss entry requirements and learner support requirements. 

 Programme Costs 

The cost of the apprenticeship is €1,375 per year of the programme. Associated costs such as travel and accommodation for the off-the-job block release is extra. 

  Programme Structure

Apprentices will be trained in a progressive manner and will get to put their skills into practice during both on and off the job training stages. On successful completion, the apprentice will be fully competent in the role of a Horticulturist. 

Employers are asked to support employees throughout their learning journey by engaging and facilitating one - to - one mentor meetings on a regular basis. Employers will be issued with advice on this during the induction training. 

The block release programme has been designed to minimise the impact of the apprentice's abscence's abscence throughout off-season. Attendance is compulsory and apprentices will attend classes, practicals, labs and field trips while off-the-job. 

The following stages will be completed as part of the Horticultural Apprenticeship:

Year 1 Autumn / Winter Semester September - December
2 days off-the-job every second week
Year 1 Spring / Summer SemesterJanuary - June
2 days off-the-job every second week





Programme Modules 

Year 1 / Stage 1 

  • Growing Media and Plant Nutrition 
  • Plant Science 
  • Plant Propagation 
  • Sustainable Plant Protection 
  • Plant ID 
  • Sustainable IT Skills 
  • Horticultural machinery and health and safety

Note: All streams complete year 1 modules, content and assessment tailored to the relevant stream.

Year 2 / Stage 2 

Mandatory for all streams: 

  • Financial Management for Horticulture 
  • Sustainable Horticultural Practice 

Note: All streams complete year 2 mandatory modules, content and assessment tailored to the relevant stream.

The following are the specific stream modules: 

Fruit Stream: 

  • Fruit Production 

Garden and Parks Stream: 

  • Advanced plant identification and cultivation techniques
  • Garden and Parks Management 

Garden Centre Stream: 

  • Customer Service for horticulture 
  • Garden Centre management 

Landscaping Stream:

  • Advanced plant identification and cultivation techniques
  • Hard landscaping 

Nursery Stream: 

  • Customer service for Horticulture 
  • Nursery stock production 

Vegetable Stream: 

  • Vegetable production 

More Information 

See Apprenticeships website - Apprenticeships Website

Information for Employers is available on the apprenticeships website 

For Further information please contact:

Marcella Phelan 
National Apprenticeship Programme Co - Ordinator
Teagasc - Curriculum & Development Standards Unit 
+353 (0)51644508

John Mulhern 
College Principal
College of Horticulture
Teagasc - National Botanic Gardens, Glassnevin 
T +353 (0)18040205