What they do

Nurserypersons propagate plants, flowers, trees and shrubs for either wholesale or retail sale, or for use in large parks and gardens. They grow plants either from seeds or from cuttings, as well as pruning and potting them. They also weed, prune, repot, irregate and fertilise plants, and ensure that they have the right conditions to grow by controlling light, temperature, humidity and watering. They may control pests by spraying stock, as well as picking and packing produce to send it to gardening retailers. Depending on where they work they may also sell plants and other gardening related goods like fertiliser and pots.

Working conditions

Nurserypersons work outdoors in nurseries and fields in most weather conditions. They may also work in greenhouses or glasshouses, plant retailers or garden centres. Working conditions may be hot, dusty and dirty, or cold, wet and muddy. Greenhouses and glasshouses may be humid during summer.

Tools and technologies

Nurserypersons use gardening equipment and machinery, irrigation and temperature control systems, seeding, fertiliser and soil spreaders, and rolling and soil aeration equipment. They may also use inventory systems, cash registers and computers to undertake retail or administrative tasks.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a nurseryperson, you usually need to gain a qualification in horticulture or a related area.

The Certificate II, Certificate III and Certificate IV 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 in horticulture (level 2, level 3 or level 4), horticulture (retail nursery) (level 2 or level 4) or horticulture (wholesale nursery) (level 2 or level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete. The level 2 traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.

You can also undertake a nurseryperson apprenticeship. The apprenticeship usually takes 48 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.