In NHSScotland, Gardeners are responsible for keeping the outside areas of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare settings attractive and tidy. They do this by growing, cultivating and maintaining trees, plants, lawns, and shrubs. This helps to ensure grounds are pleasant places for patients, visitors, and staff.

Gardeners, sometimes known as Grounds Maintenence Staff, work in the wider estates team, which looks after all NHSScotland buildings and premises.

The typical work of a Gardener may include:

  • mowing lawns
  • planting and weeding borders
  • trimming trees and shrubs
  • monitoring plant disease and pest control
  • maintaining tools and equipment
  • sweeping paths and car parks
  • clearing snow and ice

The skills, interests and abilities you’ll need to work as a Gardener include:

  • good practical skills
  • a good level of physical fitness
  • willing to work in different environments, including outdoors
  • good communication skills
  • teamworking skills
  • awareness of health and safety procedures
  • a full driving licence

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to think creatively
  • the ability to work alone
  • the ability to understand instructions
  • the ability to work safely and accurately

To apply for a job as a Gardener in NHSScotland, you will need to have a good standard of general education, including English and Maths.

It is also useful to have some horticulture experience, either from paid employment, voluntary work or at home. You may also need a driving licence for driving NHSScotland vehicles on site or between healthcare locations.

The specific entry requirements will depend on the role. The qualifications asked for may also vary depending on the recruiting NHSScotland Board. You are advised to contact each individual Board to find out its specific entry requirements.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeships in Horticulture at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 are frameworks for people interested in working as a Gardener or Grounds Staff. Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinical support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you’ll be given the training you need for the job including:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • using tools and equipment
  • working with plants
  • health and safety
  • risk management
  • pesticide training
  • road traffic management
  • estates workbook

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as:

Look on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website to find the full range of qualifications on offer for staff working in Estates and Grounds Services.

Career pathways

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility.

With further experience and qualifications, you could progress to a role as a Gardener Supervisor, Charge Hand or Head Gardener. The head of the team is the Head of Estates, who manages a whole team of staff.

Learn more about the NHSScotland Estates and Facilities career pathways.

Gardeners working in NHSScotland are able to join the following organisations:

Professional Gardener’s Guild (PGG)

The PGG aims provide the horticultural industry with skilled Gardeners and Garden Managers through education, traineeships and providing a forum for members to share skills and ideas. Find out more on the PGG website.

British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI)

The BALI provides information and careers advice for people working in gardening, landscaping and grounds work. Find out more on the BALI website.

British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM)

The BIFM is the professional body, which represents facilities management organisations and practitioners in the UK. Find out more on the BIFM website.