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Gardener (general)

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Plants, cultivates and maintains parks and gardens.
Alternative names: Horticultural Worker
Specialisations: Landscape Gardener, Nursery Assistant
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Gardeners need:

  • to have a love of nature and the outdoors
  • physical fitness and the ability to undertake manual labour
  • knowledge about plants and the environment
  • good organisational skills
  • to be practical and have good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to operate light machinery or heavy vehicles.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, gardeners can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a gardener develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

​Once qualified, many gardeners run their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can 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. 

The Certificate II and III in Horticulture or Certificate III in Horticulture (Parks and Gardens) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. 

You can also complete an apprenticeship or traineeship. The horticulture traineeship takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

The gardener apprenticeship takes 36 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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