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0208 327 3800

Level 2 Apprentice Gardener
(St John’s College Cambridge)


Cambridge CB2 1TP

Course level:


Course Duration:

24 months

Reference Number:


£12.13 per hour



About this opportunity:

St. John’s College was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII. It is one of the largest of the University colleges and has some 530 undergraduate and 320 post-graduate students, and around 160 Fellows in a very wide range of academic disciplines. The charitable purposes of the College are the advancement of education, religion, learning and research. The College is currently able to accommodate all its students in College and nearby hostels and houses. All Fellows have a study in College and some are fully resident in College. Additionally, the College employs some 250 Assistant Staff. The College is a highly international community with approximately 15% of its undergraduates and 55% of its graduates coming from overseas. St John’s College is looking to recruit a new apprentice to join our friendly Gardens team, reporting to the Head Gardener. This is a two year fixed term apprenticeship organised with KEITS Training Services. St John’s will provide full time paid work, with training and the successful applicant will work towards obtaining a Level 2 qualification as a horticultural operative. The role will be based at St John’s College but they will join apprentices from a small number of other Colleges for regular training sessions at nearby King’s College. These are exciting times in the gardens at St John’s, with efforts underway to revitalise and redevelop large areas of the grounds and gardens. The apprentice will be fully involved with these works, whilst contributing to the daily upkeep and maintenance of the College gardens.

The Apprentice would be working with a team of 7 gardeners. PPE including boots, gloves, ear defenders, and eye protection is provided. All manner of garden tasks would be undertaken and in-house training and supervision given.

One day per week would be Formal Training given by a dedicated instructor this would be of RHS 2 Level standard.

The college and gardens stand in approx. 22 acres where the apprentice will assist in all aspects of gardening required for the woodland, hedges, rose beds, herbaceous borders
and also maintain 6 acres of lawns, greenhouse and pond. They will be working outside in beautiful surroundings. They will be working outside in the Environment and beautiful surroundings.

Tasks vary on a daily basis and will include, but not be limited to the following (after instruction or training):

  •  The cutting, spiking, fertilizing, weed treatment, top dressing, and repair to all lawn grass areas at the appropriate time of year, in order to promote lawn health and enhance appearance.
  • The cutting and pruning of hedges and trees at the appropriate time of year in order to promote health and enhance appearance.
  • The cultivation, staking, pruning, and feeding of herbaceous plants and shrubs, at the appropriate time of year, in order to promote the health of border plants, propagate new stock, and enhance the appearance of the college grounds and garden areas.
  • The planting of informal flower beds, trees and shrubs, in order to promote plant health and enhance the appearance of the college grounds and garden areas.
  • The maintenance of all gravel pathways and edges, in order to minimize the risk of slips, trips and falls and to enhance appearance.
  • Cleansing work in and around gardens and storage areas in order to maintain a safe environment for members of the college, their guests and visitors. This includes the safe removal and disposal of dangerous and hazardous materials.
  • The maintenance and safe use of hand tools and power tools including hedge trimmers, strimmer’s, blowers, ride on mowers, pedestrian mowers (cylinder and rotary).
  • Communicating regularly with the Head Gardener and/or Deputy Head Gardener on progress and contributing ideas on how to improve and develop the College grounds. This list includes the principle accountabilities of the role. Other relevant duties may be specified by the Head Gardener from time to time.


Desired Skills and Personal Qualities

  • Practical. Ability to work on their own initiative on day to day activities
  • To follow advice concerning Health and Safety Guidelines. And to read and understand relevant Risk Assessments
  • Enjoys working with plants and trees and wants to learn all about them
  • To have a keen interest in Horticulture and some personal experience in gardening
  • Demonstrable experience of and enjoyment in being part of an effective team.
  • Commitment to attend training for at least one day per week for the duration of the apprenticeship.


  • GCSE or equivalent English and maths 9-4/A*-C or equivalent

Future Prospects

  • Gain qualifications in Horticulture with good references for future employment.
  • Past applicants have progressed in the department, but also receive promotions elsewhere.


  • All training will be at the place of employment and be provided by the employer and KEITS where the applicant will gain a Level 2 Horticulture and Landscape operative standard apprenticeship.
  • Training towards any functional skills required.
  • Training is undertaken at the place of employment.
  • You will also need to achieve Level 3 award in Emergency First Aid at Work and Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides Guidance or Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides before undertaking the End Point Assessment.

Things to Consider

  • KEITS Training Services Ltd reserves the right to close the vacancy earlier than the listed closing date should the need arise.

Contractual benefits include:

  • Membership of a Defined Contribution Pension Scheme after a qualifying period
  • Additional Christmas salary payment
  • Annual leave of 36 working days (inclusive of Bank Holidays)

Other benefits include:

  • Free lunch in the College’s Buttery Dining Room (subject to a monetary limit)
  • Access to a ‘cash plan’ healthcare scheme currently provided by Simply health which provides some financial assistance towards the cost of everyday health expenses such as sight tests or dental check-ups after a qualifying period
  • Free car parking close to the College (subject to availability)
  • Free use of an on-site Gym
  • Free life cover


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