What they do
Gardeners are responsible for the care of public and private parks and gardens. They plant and care for trees, shrubs, flower beds and lawns, and may also look after other open spaces, such as sportsfields, roadside verges, and the garden areas surrounding buildings. They carry out general maintenance of these areas, which may involve laying turf, cutting grass, trimming hedges, and keeping specific areas tidy and free of weeds. They may construct fencing, lay pathways and reticulation, and may even carry out concreting or brickwork.
Gardeners work outside all year round in hot, cold, dry, wet and windy conditions. They may also spend time in glasshouses or nurseries, and may occasionally work from an office. They often handle plants, soil and manures, and their work is often dirty. They usually only work during daylight hours.
Tools and technologies
Gardeners use tools, such as shovels, spades, pitchforks and hoes. They may also use gardening-related light machinery, such as hedge trimmers, rotavators, mowers, leafblowers and chainsaws. They are sometimes required to treat plants with chemicals and sprays, and may need to wear protective clothing.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a gardener without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in horticulture or a related area.
The Certificate II and III in Horticulture are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship or apprenticeship. The horticulture (level 2 or level 3) and horticulture (parks and gardens) (level 2) traineeships usually take 12 months to complete. The level 2 traineeships are available as school-based traineeships. The gardener apprenticeship takes 36 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship in year 12 only.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.