‘Tis skill, not strength, that governs a ship’ – Thomas Fuller.
The landscape industry offers careers that cover a wide skill set, but this can be a double-edged sword, it means you have variety in your role, but also, you have a lot of skills to learn and perfect. You won’t be expected to learn them all straight away, and this isn’t necessarily the first thing landscape companies look for. Read our What landscape employers are really looking for blogpost for more on what landscape companies are looking for in candidates.
So, where do you start with industry-specific skills? Well, let’s see what landscapers are looking for. The industry came under the microscope when a Horticulture Sector Skills Survey was carried out in 2019, and a large part of the survey was to look at the skills gaps that the industry faces, so what were the findings, what industry skills do landscape companies place the most importance on? Gaining some of these skills in advance will certainly improve your employability with landscape companies.
A safe company is a healthy company
Throughout the skills survey, positions that included managerial, technical and trades skills all saw the importance of Health and Safety, this was always in their top two skills. If businesses are to survive, function and hold a good reputation with clients and employees, they must operate safely, with its workforce adhering to current health and safety standards and practice. Consider gaining a landscape specific health and safety qualification like Register of Land-based Operatives Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness Course, this will demonstrate your competence in working safely. You could also add to this a LISS/CSCS card, which allows you to work on a commercial site, demonstrating again, that you can work not only safely, but also the other industry qualifications you hold.
Let the tool do the work
In every industry, the advancement of technology and machinery is paramount to its survival and the landscape sector is no different. Lots of machinery has been developed to help the professional landscaper in their daily tasks, from cutting grass to moving and shaping the ground on a new project. Landscapers can lose a lot of time when machinery is damaged or breaks down. Therefore, the value of a qualified machine operator is in high demand, along with people that know how to use equipment correctly, safely and to its full capability, knowing how to check it and often make simple repairs on it when it breaks down, are highly sought. Depending on the area of landscaping you are interested in it, it may be worth investing in some of the industry-specific short courses that focus on a particular piece of equipment.
Change the future
The environment and climate change are very much at the forefront of everyone’s mind, companies are working hard to tell you how environmentally safe they and their products are. Landscapers lead the way in what they do, creating and nurturing our green spaces, all of which have a direct impact on the environment and help reverse climate change. Add to this the impact green spaces have on our mental health, and landscaping is a career that makes real and tangible difference to our world and its people, in other words who wouldn’t want to get paid to do a job that rings these kind of changes! Landscapers are looking for people that are passionate about the environment and want to contribute to making the changes we need to make.
It’s all in the design
This is where most projects start, with a design. There are many roles that are dedicated solely to design, like Garden Designers and Landscape Architects, but most landscape companies have an element of design. Designers are responsible for putting together a green space or garden in the form of a design that will then be brought to life when its built. They demonstrate a tremendous amount of skill in understanding that process and designing a space that works for both the client and the environment that it will fit into. Designers develop their creative and problem-solving skills, their construction and plant knowledge, along with customer care. There are many specific courses that will help you develop these skills and teach you the principles of garden design. Find your local education provider here.
Hard and soft landscaping
This is the nuts and bolts of most landscape businesses’, the skills that focus on hard landscaping, the construction element of green spaces using ‘hard’ materials and soft landscaping, the planting up of projects and the use of ‘soft’ materials. The broad range of skills that landscapers use, means they never stop learning or developing these skills. British Association of Landscape Industries’ (BALI) members cite the importance of construction skills like brickwork, timber work and laying paving, surveying and marking out, as essential skills they need in their employees. Add to this a good plant knowledge, as well as being able to plant plants correctly, means there are many skills you can learn and develop to make your way into the landscape industry.
Thank you for reading and hope we have inspired to consider more research into the skills required to join the landscape industry. In our next blog we will be exploring education routes and paths that allow you to join the landscape industry.