Explore: Geography

Assistant Director
The Landscape Group

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  Alistair B – Landscape Group


My name’s Alistair B. I work for a company called The Landscape Group and my job title is Assistant Director, Specialist parks.


We provide horticultural services, arboriculture services. So tree works. Cleansing. So that’s street cleaning, sweeping, waste management, green waste management and now even more so professional services so that’s landscape architecture, ecology, and technical services to support our clients.


Giving you a cross section of the workforce I’ve got here at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park we committed to employing 85% of our work force from the host boroughs. So our company would take on anybody from someone that has got a passion for horticulture, so someone that doesn’t understand what horticulture is but thinks they may want a career out of it and that would be through either an apprentice scheme or what we would like to define it as “A grow your own” scheme which is us investing in people to produce our own talent.


Last year we ran two pre-employment training sessions which was opened to say 20 candidates, at the end of that they gained their level 1 in horticulture and were guaranteed an interview. So we interviewed 20 candidates, we then gave jobs to 5 of those 20 but all 20 got the interview experience, the feedback at the end and then because of our contacts within the industry we were able to then signpost them to job vacancies them to job vacancies elsewhere so of the 20 I think we put about 16 people into employment.


I’m a chartered Landscape Architect by profession. I spent a long time in private practice as a Landscape Architect, I then did a bit of clienting for Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, on the Olympic Park and then was approached by the landscape group back in to 2011 to come and be park manager.


I think careers now are guided more by progress rather than being tied by decisions you make at GCSE and A Level, so it’s not the end of the world if you’ve done something that you perhaps don’t think is going to give you the skills and experience because a lot of stuff’s transferable so, we often use transferable skills to put one individual that’s got heaps of say communication skills into a career that enables them to pursue that.


The advice I’d give to anybody looking to enter my industry, or indeed any industry is to get out there and put yourself within that industry. Phone employers, talk to employers about what skillsets you might need, what qualifications you might need to enter that profession. Ask them for work experience. As an employer it’s always great to hear from people that want work experience, indeed one guy that we’ve got on the team at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park phoned us and said can I come and work for you for two weeks, he didn’t want paying for it but he got a job at the end of those two weeks because he showed that he had the enthusiasm that we were looking for. He showed a passion for the career and progressing within that and for us represented that ideal candidate that could be employed.


So another thing that I would recommend is, given the strength of social media today, get out there and start contacting potential employers within the industries that you want to pursue, because they will be able to give you good advice as to what they are looking for, for candidates to employ.


I would recommend when you’re applying for a job that you start to think out of the A for CV box, we have candidates now that are using social media to communicate their CVs and experience. What that does as an employer is actually lets us understand you as an individual. CVs are very kind of clinical, don’t necessarily portray character and desires to achieve so those digital means of communication really assist us in understanding you as a candidate and of course set you out from the crowd.


End of Alistair B


Alistair works for an organisation which provides a range of horticultural and landscaping services for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. He is a chartered landscape architect and spent a long time in private practice as a landscape architect before moving into contracting. He thinks that “careers now are shaped by your progress and not necessarily by the decisions you make at GCSE and A-level.” He would encourage all young people to be enthusiastic, passionate, do some work experience in the industry they want to pursue and talk to employers once they done their work experience.

More information about Gardeners and landscape gardeners

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

91%  male 
9%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Gardeners and landscape gardeners cultivate flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants in public and private gardens, construct features to improve the appearance of existing terrain, and cut and lay turf.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. NVQs/SVQs in Horticulture are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Professional qualifications are also available.
  • Levels ground and installs drainage system as required;
  • Prepares soil and plants and transplants, prunes, weeds and otherwise tends plant life;
  • Protects plants from pests and diseases;
  • Cuts and lays turf using hand and machine tools and repairs damaged turf;
  • Prepares or interprets garden design plans;
  • Moves soil to alter surface contour of land using mechanical equipment and constructs paths, rockeries, ponds and other features;
  • Performs general garden maintenance.
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Employment status

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