Apprentice Gardener

Working at Buckfast Abbey

Job Title: - Apprentice Gardener

Job Title: - Apprentice Gardener

Hours of work – 40 hours per week, 8.30am to 5.00pm with a 30-minute unpaid break at lunchtime and a 15-minute break to be taken at times to be advised by the manager. 

A more flexible start and finish time may be agreed.

Salary - £4.50 per hour.

Course: Level 2 Horticulture & Landscape Operative. College attendance will be on a block week basis of approximately 7/8 weeks in total. Course duration is 18-21 months.

College: Bicton College, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 7BY:

Closing Date: 17th January 2021

Applications: For more details about the course, college facilities and transport links and to make an application, please contact Chelsea at Bicton College by email -


An excellent opportunity has arisen to work and train in the gardens at Buckfast Abbey, which extend to approximately thirty-five acres. Working alongside a current team of twelve to include the Head Gardener, a range of horticultural and woodland skills can be gained. Working in the private and public areas, as well as in vegetable and plant production, glasshouse work, woodland management, an emphasis on organics and naturalistic approaches are important here.

This is a new post that will form part of an approximately two year, level 2 Horticultural Apprenticeship scheme at Bicton College, near Exeter. There may be the opportunity to extend the training and work opportunities at the end of this course, to a level three qualification.

Buckfast Abbey is home to a Benedictine Community of monks with the Abbey Church and facilities. It has a manufacturing plant, multiple retail outlets, a restaurant, a conference centre, education department and a broad range of guest accommodation.

The original Abbey was founded on its current site around 1018 and grew into a large flourishing monastic complex with some substantial Guest Halls.

Main Purpose of the Role

Reporting to the Head Gardener, carrying out a wide variety of garden maintenance, vegetable growing and garden landscaping tasks across the Buckfast Abbey site, duties include:

•Learning how to understand and use a range of garden tools and machinery,

•Assisting with the growing of vegetables, fruit and cut flowers, to include planting.

•Propagation (seed sowing and cuttings),

•Acquiring plant names and knowledge,

•Compost making, soil care and biology,

•Vegetation control and care,

•Hedge cutting and maintenance,

•A variety of pruning tasks through the year,

•Lawn care, leaf clearance, edging,

•Working in a glasshouse setting,

•Attending meetings, training sessions and conferences as required.

The post holder must also undertake other duties appropriate to the grading of the post to help out across the site where required.

Person Specification

Essential Requirements. The successful candidate must:

•Enjoy working with plants and want to learn more about their care and environment.

•Be interested in the natural world and improving it in line with organic growing ideas.

•Enjoy learning and developing new skills.

•Have a minimum of grade 4 or equivalent in Maths and English or predicted in those grades.

•Have good interpersonal and communication skills.

•Like and enjoy working with other people.

•Be able to develop and maintain good relationships with colleagues and others, such as our resident Community of monks.

•Be flexible with the ability to adapt as requirements of a job situation changes.

•Be able to respond calmly in the face of challenging situations.

•Be able to respond well to customers and the public.

•Be able to work on own initiative.

•Have an alert, enquiring, cooperative and resilient mind-set.

•Be able and willing to work in different weather conditions.

•Be able to undertake manual handling activities whilst at work, in line with risk assessments and relevant control measures.

•Be able to keep work areas and tools clean and tidy as described in Garden Department guidelines.

Desirable Requirements / competencies

•Work experience in a similar environment.

•Ability to use/maintain hand tools.

It would be our aim that your sense of confidence can be used and expanded through your work and your College studies.

Uniform and personal protective equipment (PPE)

You will be issued with a uniform, which you will need to wear while working you will also need to keep it in good order. You will be issued with all necessary PPE for your required tasks and you will be responsible for their care and maintenance.

This Job Description is subject to change and the list of duties is not exhaustive, however if it is necessary to make significant changes you will be notified in advance and they will be discussed with you.

Download an application form here

Please send it to: 

HR Department
Buckfast Abbey