Find out more about our 3-month long, unpaid Horticultural Internship course
Kew horticultural internship
Kew interns, April - June 2011
The Horticultural Internship aims to provide high quality practical work experience in one of the leading botanical gardens in the world. The structured internship programme provides participants with the opportunity to gain practical skills and knowledge of the basic responsibilities involved in this type of work, based on the horticultural operations in one of the specialist units at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Horticultural interns will work unpaid for three months in only one of the fifteen supervised specialist units across the three main sections of the Gardens detailed below. A typical week will involve working Monday to Friday in your unit in the Gardens being an active and valued member of the team.
During the application procedure interns choose their placement with most relevance to their - or their sponsors’ - individual needs. On the job training will be arranged and delivered by team leaders and trainers with focus on practical skills using real tasks.
The three main sections, divided into fifteen units, are as follows:
- Arboretum and Arboretum Nursery
- Alpine Nursery; Broadwalk Axis; Decorative Nursery; Duke’s Garden; Order Beds & Grass Garden; Queen’s Garden & Main Gate; Rock Garden; Victoria Gate & Rose Garden and Woodland Garden
Please indicate numerically in Section 6 of your application form up to six placements, in order of preference, where you would like to be placed. To help you choose please read the appropriate section profiles and individual unit summaries by following the links provided above. Included in these profiles are brief descriptions of the nature of work and likely tasks you will be expected to carry out, so please consider these when making your decision.
Training and Assessment
No lectures or formal training in horticulture is given but on-the-job tuition, demonstration and instruction will be provided where required by team leaders or trainers. No formal assessments are undertaken. Interns have access to Kew’s libraries, computer and information systems.
Interns are encouraged to undertake their own optional research projects, relevant to their work placement, outside of normal working hours using Kew’s resources such as the Main Library, Herbarium, Kew staff and facilities in the School of Horticulture.
The work placement is intended to make two major contributions to the scheme as a whole: the acquisition of craft, technical and employment skills and the opportunity to work with a wide range of plants, developing horticultural amenity and landscape features and environments.
Interns are required to produce a practical work journal to record personal learning on a daily basis. These work journals are evidence of development and learning and will be presented to the Internship Section Coordinator at the end of the programme.
Plant of the Week and Monthly Identification Tests
Interns will complete a plant profile for a single plant that is new or interesting for each week of the semester. In addition, interns are required to learn a minimum of 30 plants per semester. These will be presented as ten plants per month by an ident coordinator and will be assessed with a plant identification test. These tests will incorporate previous months' plants to encourage longer term learning.
No formal assessments are undertaken. In order to complete the internship successfully you must:
- successfully complete the placement to the required standard
- undertake all standard training requirements
- produce a practical work journal for your placement
- complete all plant profiles for your plant of the week
- attend the monthly identification test
Successful participants will be awarded an Internship Certificate and a copy of their Manager’s Report on their placement and performance. This is a respected programme managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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