Nursery Manager

From Forest Research

Alternative Text

Working For: Forest Research

Nursery manager on a three-year fixed term appointment (with the possibility of extension or permanency) . The purpose of the job is to take the lead in the management and development of high-quality Forest Research nursery facilities at Alice Holt.

Job Ref ADV435

Want to work at the cutting edge of environmental science?  Passionate about making a difference and playing your part in tackling the climate and nature crisis?  Forest Research is all about giving top quality evidence and advice to policymakers and practitioners to make a positive impact on the ground. Internationally recognised, we need people who have the skills and passion to work on excellent science and provide practical solutions for nature.

We’re small enough that your voice is heard, yet large enough, as part of the Forestry Commission, that we have everything on hand to get the job done, as well as a variety of career pathways.  Our staff are dedicated to their work and sharing it with others to bring positive change for our planet.  And you will find us a flexible and inclusive employer, so you can have a work life balance that is tailor-made to your circumstances. So whether it’s climate or carbon, pests or pathogens, behaviour or biodiversity that interests you, you can be assured of a warm welcome to the team.  Diverse perspectives and experiences are critical to our success and we welcome applications from all people from all backgrounds with the experience and skills needed to perform this role.  To find out more, visit

This role sits within the Forest Research Technical Services Unit (TSU) which provides a capacity to conduct field work across Great Britain. Through a network of field stations and two nursery facilities which work in close co-operation, the TSU provides a wide range of specialist technical skills and knowledge to support the work of the science centres within Forest Research and on behalf of other customers, Forestry Commission, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales and other external clients.

TSU also provides local contact and liaison between Forest Research (FR) and networks of regional Forestry Commission (FC) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) staff, partner organisations and private woodland owners and managers.

Job description

The Technical Services Unit at Alice Holt’s Research Station are looking to appoint a nursery manager on a three-year fixed term appointment. The purpose of the job is to take the lead in the management and development of high-quality FR nursery facilities at Alice Holt which consist of an intensive nursery facility at the Research Station and a nearby extensive outdoor facility at Headley.  There may also be occasional opportunities to assist with TSU fieldwork. Liaising with FR project leaders, the nursery manager will deliver the nursery services required to underpin their research projects as well as identifying opportunities for development of future nursery work. The successful candidate’s key work areas will be:

 Managing the nursery facilities:

  • Manage agreed budgeted work programmes, occasional staff members and growth facilities to provide a high-quality horticultural service that meets the needs of our clients
  • Oversee the maintenance of the site, identifying seasonal work required
  • Achieve efficient use of nursery resources in all areas of work through planning and efficient management balancing quality and cost effectiveness
  • Care for the plants in the nursery, carrying out watering, weeding and pest control as required
  • Propagate or source plants required for research projects
  • Ensure that work complies with FR’s health and safety, quality assurance (QA) and ISO14001 environmental management standards

Developing future nursery capacity:

  • In collaboration with FR project leaders, you will seek to develop new work utilising the nursery facilities and identify potential new equipment / infrastructure / skills required to support this
  • With TSU management and colleagues in FR facilities, prepare business cases for new investment
  • Assist with the delivery of any agreed investment plans

 Building capability in the nursery team:

  • Share your horticultural skills and experience with members of the TSU team based at Alice Holt so that they can assist with nursery work where necessary; either during peaks of workload, weekend cover or periods of leave / sickness absence
  • Identify development/ training opportunities for staff working in the nursery

 The post requires attention to detail, good record keeping and flexibility in terms of working hours and weekend working as required to care for the plants growing within the nurseries.

Person specification
Essential Criteria

 Horticultural qualification to a minimum of HNC level or equivalent experience

  • Demonstrable experience of plant propagation, care and maintenance work
  • Demonstrable experience of managing glass houses and polytunnel structures including environmental control and irrigation systems
  • Demonstrable experience of working safely whilst undertaking horticultural work including competent use of risk assessments and COSHH assessments
  • Literacy Level 2 qualification or equivalent experience (e.g. GCSE, NVQ, Key Skills, Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate, Scottish National Certificate level 5)*
  • Numeracy Level 2 qualification or equivalent experience (e.g. GCSE, NVQ, Key Skills, Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate, Scottish National Certificate level 5)*
  • Competent IT user with experience of the Microsoft Office suite
  • An ability to work flexibly altering working day pattern where necessary

 *The qualification examples provided is not an exhaustive list

Desirable Criteria

 Experience of managing staff and contractors

  • Demonstrable knowledge of forest and woodland management, in particular pests and pathogens threatening tree health
  • Experience of pesticide user able to safely apply pesticides using knapsack sprayers
  • Experience of strimmer / brush cutter / clearing saw operator able to safely use these machines for mechanical weeding and cleaning
  • Experience of the use of tractors with front end loaders, trailers and flail mowers for a range of horticultural tasks
  • Experience of trailer towing


  • A generous annual leave allowance of 25 days per year, rising to 30 days after 5 years (pro- Excellent professional development opportunities which are tailored to your role, with paid professional membership subscriptions, mentoring, and Civil Service Learning available to all
  • Access to world class laboratory facilities, as well as state of the art buildings within forest or science park settings
  • Flexible working options such as: up to two days flexi leave per month, blended working, part-time working, paid special leave, career breaks, and unpaid leave.. Plus 2.5 days of additional leave and 8 days’ paid bank/public holidays
  • Wellbeing support and staff networks and including Mental Health First Aiders, Rainbow Canopy (LGBTQ+) and an Employee Assistance Programme
  • We want you to feel part of something bigger and we encourage a community feel in our workplaces, with everything from cookery competitions to Pilates and fell running, plus topical talks at Wellbeing Wednesdays and Feelgood Fridays
  • Paid volunteering leave of 3 days per year so you can give back to your community and charitable causes by sharing your skills and time
  • A highly competitive Civil Service Pension where employer contributions are up to 26% of your salary
  • An employee benefits scheme offering discounts on groceries, gym memberships, holidays, days out, online retailers and high street shops
  • Cycle to Work scheme and Interest free loans
  • Free parking is offered on-site, alongside electric car charging ports
  • With maternity, adoption, and/or shared parental leave there’s the flexibility to have up to 26 weeks full pay, followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid leave. Paternity leave of up to two weeks is available with full pay.

For a full job description please click here

Closing date for this role is midnight on the 7th February 2023

This private advert is being managed directly by the employer. horticruitment are not involved in the hiring process and are therefore unable to share any additional information on this role. If you have any questions regarding this position, the best course of action is to apply for the job which will open a line of communication with the employer.