parks and gardens


Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in parks and gardens

The parks and gardens industry covers the work of parks and gardens trades assistants, park supervisors and managers in local government, botanic gardens, and public and private parks and gardens.

In public parks and gardens, workers are usually covered by job classifications and award conditions. Increasingly the work of parks and gardens trades’ assistants is being contracted out to private gardening contractors and business skills are highly sought in both private and public organisations. Work in the private sector is confined mainly to self-employed parks and garden trade assistants.

Parks and gardens trades’ assistants often require a broad range of skills in greenkeeping, landscape, nursery and tree work. Their work often centres on the development and maintenance of garden beds and plant displays and the maintenance of open spaces (including bushland).

They are often also responsible for the management of public assets in parks and gardens.

Generally, parks and gardens includes the establishment, operation, maintenance and management of parks, gardens and streetscape, and recreational and natural open spaces where plants are primarily involved. Environmental planning and management of significant natural ecosystems.

More than 5,000 people work in parks and gardens Australia wide.

Work in the parks and gardens sector includes:

  • Management and maintenance of public and private parks, reserves and gardens
  • Management and maintenance of natural bushland and community recreation areas
  • Management and maintenance of historic, cultural and special use areas, botanic gardens, cemeteries, recreation parks and institutional lands
  • Design and implementation of special plant displays
  • Provision of advice on plant selection and use in commercial and domestic situations
  • Contract administration and management

Jobs and qualifications

Parks and Gardens Trades Assistant Certificate II in Parks & Gardens »
Parks and Gardens Tradesperson Certificate III in Parks & Gardens »
Parks and Gardens Supervisor Certificate IV in Parks & Gardens »
Parks and Gardens Business Leader Diploma of Horticulture Parks & Gardens Management »
Parks and Gardens Trades Assistant

A parks and gardens trades assistant is likely to be involved in a wide range of gardening tasks under limited supervision:

  • Planting, transplanting and pruning small trees and shrubs
  • Operating equipment and machinery
  • Maintaining properties and structures
  • Undertaking irrigation and drainage systems maintenance activities
  • Treating weeds, pests and disease
  • Establishing and renovating grassed areas
  • Supporting revegetation works

There are several ways to get work as a parks and gardens trades assistant. In a parks and gardens traineeship you will start training as a parks and gardens assistant before moving to work as a parks and gardens trades assistant.

Individuals with general horticultural experience are often able to obtain work as parks and gardens trades assistants on a casual basis in domestic and large private gardens.

The qualification for parks and gardens trade’s assistants who have either undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job is the Certificate II in Horticulture (Parks and Gardens).

Priority skills include workplace health and safety, planting, transplanting and pruning, machinery operation, irrigation and drainage and weed, pest and disease control.

Parks and Gardens Tradesperson

A parks and gardens tradesperson is also known as a horticulturist and is multi-skilled:

  • Installing and maintaining plant displays
  • Cultivating turf
  • Installing irrigation and drainage
  • Controlling weeds, pests and diseases
  • Performing operational maintenance of machinery
  • Providing information on plants, products and treatments
  • Maintaining natural and revegetated areas

There are a number of ways to get work as a horticulturist. Most progress from working as parks and gardens trades assistants or have completed a Level 3 Traineeship in Parks and Gardens, which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The national qualification for a horticulturist is the Certificate III in Horticulture (Parks and Gardens)

Priority skills include worksite supervision, installing plant displays, cultivating turf, irrigation and drainage installation, machinery maintenance and controlling pests and diseases.

Parks and Gardens Supervisor

The parks and gardens supervisor has responsibility for a number of workers and parks and gardens activities:

  • Supervising and training staff
  • Developing tree planting and pruning programs
  • Managing irrigation, drainage and treatment systems
  • Coordinating machinery maintenance and supplies and services
  • Planning garden restoration and turf establishment recommending plants, products and treatments
  • Costing projects and operating within a budget

There are several ways to get work as a parks and gardens supervisor. Most have worked as horticulturists and have been engaged as parks and gardens supervisors after demonstrating leadership and organisational skills. Others have completed a Level 4 Traineeship in Parks and Gardens, which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The qualification for parks and gardens supervisors, who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job, is the Certificate IV in Horticulture (Parks and Gardens).

Priority skills include staff supervision and training, planning tree planting and pruning, irrigation and drainage, garden restoration, turf establishment, project costing and budgeting.

Parks and Gardens Business Leader

The parks and gardens business leader is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing business and maintenance activities. Often parks and gardens business leaders are employed by large organisations in this capacity:

  • Managing parks and reserves
  • Managing and administrating business operations
  • Preparing and monitoring budgets and financial reports
  • Preparing estimates, quotes and tenders
  • Conserving heritage and natural resource areas
  • Implementing sustainable horticultural practices
  • Providing specialist advice on plants, products and treatments

To work at this level will need a high degree of management acumen, leadership skills and knowledge about parks and gardens work.

To obtain a Diploma in Horticulture (Parks and Gardens) you will be required to demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills and industry standards.

Priority skills include managing business operations, preparing estimates, quotes and tenders, conserving heritage and natural resource areas, and preparing budgets and financial reports.

* Source acknowledgement: Primary Skills Victoria »