Horticulture - Writtle College

Horticulture

Horticulture

Writtle College is one the oldest and leading providers of horticultural education in the UK. Our horticulture degrees are designed to enhance both the theory and practical skills of our students in order to fully prepare them for a successful career within the horticultural industry after graduation.

As the largest provider of horticulture education in the country, students can be assured of engaging with experienced and knowledgeable staff as well as having access to excellent teaching resources on campus.

Our horticulture courses appeal to a wide range of people across the country. Many students have an interest in growing plants, landscaping, plant science, ecology, garden history, or growing fruit and vegetables. These awards cover a wide range of horticultural practices and skills needed in today's marketplace as well offering the opportunity to specialise in specific areas.

Throughout their time with us, students have opportunities to engage with industry. Speakers from different sectors of the industry introduce students to the diversity of occupations available and the steps needed to enter particular fields. Students gain a great deal from these speakers and are often inspired to begin planning their future pathways within the diversity of the horticultural industry. Not only this, but students also visit a range of horticultural sites to further enhance knowledge of the industry.

The College maintains strong industrial links and encourages students to undertake relevant work experience during the summer vacation whilst undertaking their course. Twelve month practical training placements are also available for students who wish to take time out of their studies for example at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and botanical gardens at Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford who offer 12 month training programmes. Writtle students regularly secure these placements. Work experience develops practical skills and knowledge along with other skills such as communication and teamwork. Research undertaken at the college shows that combining practical training with theoretical knowledge enhances employability opportunities after graduation. Students who have taken work experience believe that having an insight into the real world helps them to mature, gain confidence and make judgements and decisions about their future.

It is an exciting time to be entering in to this rich and varied profession. A key issue is food security; with a growing global population, the scientific knowledge and practical application required to produce crops sustainably and efficiently is highly sought after. Of course the world is a rapidly changing place and the challenge of a changing climate will possibly prove the greatest test of the horticulturist's skills over the coming century, making horticulture a key aspect of future nutrition and health strategies.

There is a strong link between access to green space and the health agenda. In the current culture of addressing the work/life balance, green spaces are ever more popular with public gardens witnessing increased visitor numbers and local authorities recognising the importance of local green spaces through the rising applications for Green Flag status. Private gardens too are precious commodities that also require managing and maintaining... Many horticulture graduates find full-time employment in the industry on or shortly after graduating and others opt to continue on to post-graduate studies at the College.

Other opportunities are outlined below.

The Chelsea Flower Show

Writtle College has an excellent track record of exhibits at this prestigious international event. Staff from the Higher Education and Further Education divisions have been involved in these exhibits along with students from both divisions.

Scholarships and Competitions

Writtle students are encouraged to enter competitions and apply for scholarships available to those in horticulture. Students from both Higher Education and Further Education are encouraged to apply for bursaries from the two renowned organisations: the Geoff Hamilton New Gardeners Foundation and the David Colegrave Foundation (www.davidcolegravefoundation.org.uk).

Detail of additional bursaries can be found at www.grantsforhorticulturists.org.uk

Each spring the College runs a local heat of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition, a nationwide competition run by the Institute of Horticulture(www.horticulture.org.uk) for people under the age of 30. The national winner receives a travel bursary of 2000 and has the opportunity to have an article published in The Horticulturist.

The James Hearsum Lecture Series is another opportunity for students to be involved. James Hearsum started the Plantsmanship lecture series whilst studying on the BSc (Hons) Horticulture programme. Each year six eminent speakers such as Chris Beardshaw, Beth Chatto, Adrian Bloom, James Wong and Christine Walkden have been invited to present an evening lecture at the College which is open to students, staff and local keen gardeners. This has been such a success that although James has now completed his studies here, the lecture series has continued. Horticulture students working with a member of staff are now involved in organising and presenting speakers. Monies raised from the lecture series now funds an annual student travel bursary scheme.