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Gardeners   A Guide To Looking For Work
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Information for Gardeners - A Guide to Looking for Work with Greycoat Lumleys

  • Publish Date: Posted about 7 years ago
  • Author:by Collette Negre

​Once you have been interviewed by Greycoat Lumleys and are fully registered, and reference checked, hopefully we will have some exciting gardening job opportunities to interest you.

You will need to attend interviews with prospective employers. Here are our top tips when meeting our clients/potential employers, to help you get your ideal gardening job:

• Always arrive in plenty of time

• Find out as much as you can about the garden before the interview and be armed with your knowledge and insight. Your consultant will help you as much as possible with this

• Gardeners are often concerned about what to wear for interviews. The best advice is to always dress smartly and appropriately for an initial meeting, but don’t forget to have your wellies, waterproofs and umbrella in the boot, ready for a possible tour of the garden and grounds

• Take a portfolio of the gardens you have worked in to show the prospective employer

• Allow the employer to tell you about the rewards, benefits and accommodation in their own time and leave discussing salary to your consultant, unless the employer mentions it first

• But do ask to see the accommodation if it is provided

• Remember to have your own list of questions - you need to discover whether this is a job you would enjoy and if these are people you would like to work for

• One of the problems facing Gardeners is the lack of a budget to match the vision of the employer and it may be worth asking how much is allocated to the garden annually and to equipment and its maintenance (being careful not to delve too much into the private financial affairs of the employer!)

• Some gardens are open to the public at certain times of the year. Is the client interested in this, if the gardens are not already open?

• Ask about available equipment, clothing, tools etc. Is this provided or would the employer like you to have your own?

• Finally don’t forget that a strong handshake and a warm smile are all factors that the employer finds engaging

You will soon discover at your first interview whether this is a job you would enjoy and these are people you would like to work for. At the first interview, try to establish a rapport and a mutual understanding of the requirements of the garden and any visions there may be for its development. Employers want to feel that you like their garden and that you understand their priorities. Dependent on the level of involvement of the employer (and some can be very hands on) they need to feel confident they can be guided by you, or be able to direct you. No two jobs are ever exactly the same and the Gardener who is willing and able to adapt and be flexible will be the most successful. The very best Gardeners will be able to assimilate themselves into any situation and judge the right level of team work and/or leadership wanted.

The Role of the Modern Gardener

• Take full or occasional responsibility for dog walking or pet care

• Perform occasional ‘indoor’ duties, when necessary, or doing errands related to the running of the household

A flexible approach to a job is advantageous, but be sure this is thoroughly discussed at the interview stage, so as not to be disheartened or disgruntled when you are dragged away from the joys of the garden. Any Gardener should make sure they are completely happy with the level of non-gardening work they are prepared to do – if this potentially may ‘tip the scale’ too far, then it is not the right job.

As an agency, we have found that the number of jobs no longer offering accommodation has increased in recent years; Gardeners have to be more receptive to the idea of moving and/or finding their own accommodation if they want to secure their ideal job.

Gardeners who work as part of a Couple

Couples always have been and always will be a popular option for employers. A Couple can be the most cost effective solution to an employer’s needs; a Couple constitutes a ‘ready-made’ team (usually Gardener, plus full or part time Housekeeper) and mean only one lot of accommodation has to be provided for live in jobs. The most usual requirement is for a maintenance Gardener / All-rounder with a housekeeping partner who works full time or part time. The most difficult combination to find is the top professional Gardener partnered by a full time Housekeeper, who can also cook for dinner parties! Such Couples are gold dust and there are a huge amount of opportunities awaiting them! Don’t forget our excellent ‘Recommend a Friend Scheme’ if you know any Couples seeking work. Ask your consultant for details.

Accepting the job offer

If we manage to find a job to suit you, then you need to check carefully that the working conditions of the job meet a good, minimum standard. We hope that all our clients are bona fide, responsible employers and here is a list to guide and help you.

Any good employer should:

• Ensure your workplace is safe and without risk to health (with appropriate systems in place for the safety of ‘lone workers’)

• Provide a formal, written job description and contract of employment, detailing hours of work, pay, holidays and any ‘extra’ duties required

• Provide suitable equipment for any task that you are asked to undertake

• Supply protective equipment for any machinery or chemicals used in the course of your work

• Access to clean toilet facilities, with hot water for washing

• Somewhere warm and dry where you can take your lunch break or make a hot drink and possibly change before going home

• Ensure there is space for the safe storage for chemicals/pesticides etc

• Provide access to First Aid and a telephone in case of emergencies

Additionally, at the discretion of the employer, you may be offered

• Reasonable time off for training and to visit other gardens

• A shower and/ or a drying area for wet clothes and boots

• A fridge or a microwave

• Horticultural books and/or Internet access

• Subscription to specialist magazines and gardening societies

Head Gardeners | Gardeners | Single Handed Gardeners
Maintenance Gardeners | Estate Managers | Under Gardeners
Couples | Plants Specialists | All-Rounders | Greenhouse Specialists

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