Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site offering unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture from every stage of the Gardens’ history. Our collection of living plants is the largest and most diverse in the world, growing out in the landscape and within our glasshouses and nurseries.

Kew contains the most diverse collection of living plants of any botanic garden in the world. The collection contains plants from tropical, temperate, arid and alpine climates, and are grown out in the Gardens and in controlled conditions within glasshouses and nurseries.

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


A Kew Diploma is a three-year course which offers training in both amenity and botanical horticulture, suited to dedicated professional horticulturists with a determination to succeed.

The curriculum provides a combination of practical and theoretical study, providing the opportunity to study top-level scientific and technical subjects, whilst gaining practical experience and responsibility working with one of the most comprehensive botanic collections in the world.

As employees of Kew, Diploma students receive payment for the duration of the three-year course (including lecture block trimesters) and there are no course fees.

As an independent qualification, the Kew Diploma in Horticulture is self-accredited by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is viewed as a higher education qualification and many universities accept an Honours grade in lieu of a bachelors degree (QCF level 6).

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Kew Specialist Certificates are 12 month, salaried training (please see click on the links below to get current salary entitlements and any allowances). Perfect for horticulturists wishing to specialise in a particular area of horticulture by spending a full year within that area of specialism. Open to horticulturists anywhere in the world who would like to come to Kew to undertake some professional training in some of Kew’s unique plant collections.

The individual modules are:


  • Applicants are expected, as a minimum, to hold a Level 2 qualification in Horticulture (The Arboricultural option candidates must hold a Level 2 qualification in Arboriculture and have the following Arboriculture certification: CS30 & CS38).
  • Have six months* practical experience in a professional horticultural environment (or arboricultural enviornment for the arboriculture option).
  • Be computer literate with the ability to produce word-processed coursework.

*six months in total – not, for example, one day a week for six months.

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The Kew apprenticeship is an entry level position designed for individuals desiring a professional career at senior craft level in botanical or amenity horticulture. Applicants should enjoy physical activities and be prepared for early starts and working outdoors through the seasons. Apprentices are employed on a salary and college fees and staff exchanges are supported financially by the School of Horticulture.

A Kew apprentice will gain work experience in each of the two horticultural sections: Arboretum, Gardens & Horticultural Services, and Glasshouses, Nurseries and Display Horticulture. As part of this work experience, on-the-job training will be arranged and delivered by garden managers and trainers, with a focus on practical skills using real tasks. Personal development is encouraged with a two-week staff exchange to a European botanic garden or plant collection and a competitive travel scholarship opportunity for two-weeks at the beginning of the second year.

Each apprentice will be granted day release to attend a local horticultural college, where they will study and prepare for the horticulture operative Trailblazer apprenticeship standard. This is the new government scheme.

Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about the government’s Apprenticeship standard: horticulture and landscape operative.

Kew modular courses are fee-paid programmes ideal for horticulturists looking to undertake professional training in some of Kew’s unique plant collections. Available in three month blocks, open to horticulturists anywhere in the world* who would like to come to Kew to undertake some continued professional development (CPD).

Each of the modules is available at a specific time of the year, when practical activities are at their most extensive.

The individual modules are:

Kew Modular Certificate in glasshouse display practices: Palm House

Kew Modular Certificate in glasshouse display practices: Princess of Wales Conservatory

Kew Modular Certificate in Tender and Tropical Nursery Practices

Conditions for entry

Please read and understand the following conditions carefully.  Any offer is on the understanding that the applicant accepts the following conditions:

(a) RBG Kew reserves the right to vary the programme if circumstances arise which make this necessary.

(b) RBG Kew reserves the right to terminate the Kew Modular Certificate at any time should there be any misconduct or inability to carry out tasks

(c) The Modular Certificates are primarily practical in nature – no formal lectures take place.

(d) Uniform and PPE will be provided on starting the module (this should be returned at the end on the module). We encourage successful applicants to wear the uniform of their organisation, if appropriate.

(e) Applicants should be able to speak and write fluently in English.

(f) Fees are required to be paid prior to the commencement of the module. Fees are non-refundable once the module starts.


Candidates must have at least 6 months of practical experience in a professional horticultural environment and be able to communicate in both written and spoken English.

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