Horticulture NPA Level 4 NPA

What is special about this course?

Improve your gardening and horticultural skills in the beautiful surroundings of Hermitage Park, Helensburgh or Mount Stuart Estate, Isle of Bute. 

This highly practical course includes 4 units: 

  • Allotment Gardening 
  • Plant Propagation 
  • Plant Identification 
  • Working with Others

It is suitable for anyone wishing to improve their gardening skills to have more success in their own gardens. The course is ideal for anyone with an interest in studying horticulture further or starting a career as a gardener.

Entry requirements

There are no academic entry requirements, the course is suitable for enthusiastic beginners. Applicants must be 16 years or older on the start date of the course.

Allotment Gardening
Learn how to grow a bumper crop of fruit and vegetables. Topics include:

  • Crop rotation and planning
  • Organic growing principles
  • Soil preparation, testing and improvement
  • Crop planting and aftercare
  • Harvesting techniques

Plant Propagation
Learn how to produce a range of plant types from seed and how to make and root cuttings. Topics include:

  • Indoor and outdoor seed sowing techniques
  • Thinning out, pricking out and seedling aftercare
  • Horticultural growing media (compost types)
  • Vegetative propagation techniques – cuttings
  • Aftercare of cuttings

Plant Identification
Learn how the botanical (Latin) naming system works and how to identify many plants. Topics include:

  • Botanical naming
  • Identification using plant keys
  • Plant morphology e.g. the structure of a plant, leaf shapes and flower shapes
Horticultural Composting
  • Learn how to set up an effective compost system, what to put on it, how to manage it and how to use your home made compost.

Working with Others

  • We encourage our students to make the most of working as a group and to enjoy having colleagues to discuss horticulture within a positive learning environment. This unit encourages team working and positive relationship building in the class group.


Please wear outdoor clothing suitable for the weather conditions and steel toe capped boots. Please bring your gardening gloves.

No specialist equipment is required but if you have a favourite pair of secateurs you like to use, please bring them with you.

How will I study my course?

  • Part Time

This is a practical course delivered face to face. It is one day per week, from 9.30am until 4.30pm. 

At Hermitage Park your lecturer will be Andrew Garven. Andrew came to teaching after a long career in the horticulture industry, latterly managing a large garden centre chain and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.

At Mount Stuart your lecturer will be Martin Catlin. Martin is a highly experienced gardener and landscaper, having run his own garden maintenance and landscaping business on Bute for many years.

How long will my course last?

17 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Helensburgh Learning Centre
    • Rothesay Learning Centre

Start date




The fee for this course is £344.

If you are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits may receive a fee waiver. Please refer to page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide to see if you are eligible. You can download a FEE WAIVER FORM here.  If you would like help or advice on fee waiver, please contact your nearest learning centre.

If you do not qualify for a fee waiver, you may be able to apply for an Individual Training Account (ITA) to cover up to £200 the cost of this course.

This course is not available to students who require a Tier 4 Home Office visa to study in Scotland (international or EU).

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course you could progress to: 

  • NPA Horticulture 
  • NC Horticulture 
  • HNC Horticulture 
  • HND Horticulture 

Improving your confidence in practical horticultural skills and plant identification with this course can give you the boost you need to start a career in horticulture by taking on some gardening work or applying to work at a garden centre, nursery, market garden or horticultural charity. 

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

Working in real, open to the public, settings like Hermitage Park and Mount Stuart is very special. Not only do you learn horticultural skills in a real working environment, but you are able to leave your mark on very special landscapes and improve the gardens for the many visitors that enjoy the space every year.

Amber Crowley - Curriculum Lead for Horticulture

Apply for Horticulture NPA Level 4 NPA

I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Argyll. UHI Argyll operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.