What is Horticulture? This definition from the Chartered Institute of Horticulture sums it up best:

“Horticulture is the science, technology, art and business of cultivating and using plants to improve human life. Horticulturists and Horticultural Scientists create global solutions for sustainable nutritious food and healthy/restorative and beautiful environments”

Within the UK the horticulture industry is valued at £10bn and employs over a third of a million people, while the Northern Ireland industry is worth approximately £170m and employs about 8,000 people.

Many of our students are already employed in this great industry but if you’re just leaving school or looking for a new career you don’t need to know exactly where your career path lies in horticulture. Studying at Greenmount will give you the skills you need and help you make a great range of industry contacts in whatever sector you choose.

Fees, accommodation and transport

There are no tuition fees for our Level 3 and Level 2 Diploma courses in Horticulture, whether you study full or part-time and a means tested maintenance grant is available for full-time students studying the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture or the Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture.

Tuition fee loans are available for those studying the Foundation Degree in Horticulture on a full-time basis and there are currently no tuition fees for part-time Foundation Degree students.

Further details on tuition fees and funding can be found in the Financial Support section.

On campus accommodation and free car parking are available and for students travelling to Greenmount Campus by public transport, the campus provides a free daily minibus service for the two mile journey to and from Antrim bus and rail centre. The vast majority of our full-time students are 16–20 years old, so studying at CAFRE is a great way to meet new friends and develop independence and employability skills, yet still feel close to home. The residential support team is on hand 24 hours a day and they help organise a great range of clubs, societies and evening activities for both our residential and non-residential students.

Horticulture facilities

Greenmount Campus has some of the best teaching facilities in the UK for horticulture. The main campus buildings and Halls of Residence are in an idyllic rural setting, with over 18 hectares of mature landscaped gardens, including, the fantastic Walled Garden. The Greenmount Resource Centre is the hub for student research, business management, ICT and garden design. It also provides students with superb recreation facilities.Landscape Skills Area

The Horticulture Training Centre provides a base for the study of protected edible and ornamental crops, container and field grown nursery stock and cut flower production. The Machinery and Buildings Centre has well equipped workshops where students have access to a great range of specialist machinery. The college’s 11 hectares of sportsturf facilities have multifunctional playing fields and the Greenkeeping and Golf Academy. In 2016 we developed an extensive landscaping skills area and opened a new Plant Studio housing a collection of indoor plants.

The Greenmount Nature Trail is used to develop students’ estate management skills and attracts thousands of visiting schoolchildren each year.


Many of our students progress from Level 2 to Level 3 full or part-time programmes and from the Level 3 Extended Diploma to Foundation Degree or Degree programmes, while others enter directly post A-level. Most employers require a minimum qualification of a Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture, with good literacy, numeracy and communication skills. There is a great range of employment available for those with our Level 2 qualifications; with public gardens such as; National Trust properties, privately owned gardens, local Council Parks Departments, landscape design and construction companies, nurseries, garden centres, golf courses and sportsgrounds.

However, greatest demand across the UK and Ireland is for those qualified to at least Level 3 who will be able to take up employment at supervisory level and eventually move into management positions within the production, landscape, sportsturf, environmental and retail sectors of the industry.

With a typical salary for a Regional Parks Manager currently in excess of £45,000 per year, Head Greenkeepers of prestige UK golf courses earning over £50,000 per year and excellent opportunities in the landscape and production sectors the sky really is the limit for well qualified horticulturalists. There are also great opportunities for new business start-ups and for those who wish to work in other European countries and in the United States.