Sparsholt had been on my radar for many years. It has a reputation for being one of the leading land-based colleges in the country and has excellent links to the Horticulture industry, including the RHS, BBC Gardener’s Question Time and Marshalls.
The course is a blend of theory and practical hands-on work – it is a balanced mix. The tutors are experts in their field; all are engaging, approachable and supportive. We use a lot of market-leading equipment such as hedge cutters, strimmer’s and lawn mowers from manufacturers such as Stihl and Husqvarna, however, nothing tops learning to drive a tractor! The skills I have gained are invaluable, from simple tasks such as dead-heading and pruning, and more specialist tasks such as sports turf maintenance and machinery repairs.
Every aspect of my learning has prepared me for the real world, and because of the diverse subject areas I have studied, I now have a portfolio of skills suitable for several different sectors within the horticultural industry.
I have really enjoyed the subject diversity, including garden design, landscape construction, propagation, and amenity horticulture. The many visits to stately gardens, shows, and private and commercial nurseries were also great. It has also been a great privilege to be involved in preparations for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
There are options for students to participate in extra-curricular activities such as football or climbing, and there are regular events such as the Summer Ball. For me personally, I have enjoyed taking time between lessons to walk around campus.
In addition to learning specific Horticulture practises such as propagation, there is a large focus on developing business skills and further opportunities to take NPTC examinations in specialist areas such as spraying, which have helped to boost my CV.
I am extremely fortunate to have been offered a role with the College Grounds team. It is both exciting to now be a full-time member of the Horticulture team, and to also support future students interested in a career in Horticulture.