Qualification -Advanced Certificate Applied Management (Retail Nursery)

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Study, Learn and Work in Garden Centres


This course is comprised of:

  • Core studies - Four units (400 hours) of compulsory subjects for all students.
  • Elective studies – Three stream units for the development of knowledge in a chosen industry sector.
  • Project – a workplace project of 200 hours relevant to your field of study. The project specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study. Contact the school for more information.


Office Practices 

Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc.) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc.

Business Operations

Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (e.g. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.


Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

Marketing Foundations

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


1. Horticulture 1

The ideal course for the beginner, this is a basic, yet thoroughly practical course which gives you a sound broad technical grounding in horticultural principles and practices. A section of each lesson involves plant identification.

You will learn -

  • To identify, propagate and care for 80 different types of plants.
  • The systematic way plants are classified.
  • Structure and parts of a flower.
  • To identify different leaf shapes.
  • Different ways to control weeds.
  • Simple soil tests.
  • Making propagating and potting mixes.
  • Identifying pest and disease problems.
  • How and why to prune different plants.
  • Drawing a simple garden sketch plan.
  • To plant or repair a lawn; and lots more.
2. Garden Centre Management

Designed originally in conjunction with a garden department manager of a major retail chain store; this course has been very successful in training both staff and managers of retail nurseries and garden centres across the world. It continues to be updated at least annually, and continues to be used by small nurseries through to major chain stores across the country.

The course is divided into 12 lessons as follows: 

1.  Introduction: Plant classification, plant cultural requirements, soil and nutrition, watering requirements, drainage, temperature, light, humidity.

2. Plant Health: How to diagnose a problem, pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, frost, sunburn, chemical damage, insufficient light, overwatering.

3. Stock Maintenance: Quality standards, buying new stock, inspecting stock, extending stock life, disposing of below-standard stock, watering techniques, fertilising, pest and disease control.

4. Display and Display Techniques: Display units, product location, sales area layout.

5. Garden Product Knowledge I: Plant containers, tags, soil mixes, equipment, tools.

6. Garden Product Knowledge II: Chemicals, fertilisers, baskets, terrariums, cut flowers.

7. Indoor Plants: Major groups, common problems, plants for specific situations, customer attitudes.

8. Container Stock: Trees and Shrubs.

9. Seedlings, Bulbs, Herbs and Perennials.

10. A: Deciduous Trees, Fruit, Nuts, Berries; B: Seed.

11. Marketing: Pricing strategy, advertising, promotions.

12. Management: Staff control, staff productivity, work scheduling.

3. Sales Skills

There are twelve lessons in this course; as outlined below:

1. Presentation and selling

Personality. "Never judge a book by its cover." A wise old saying! but people who buy do make judgements especially about sales people. Dress and grooming are top priority in selling.As well you must learn how to develop a selling personality.

2. Communication and Conversational selling.

Learn the art of written and verbal communication in easy to understand terms.

3. Marketing (Buyer analysis and motivation)

Presentation of products to consumers and motivating them to buy.

4. Management (hierarchy)

Dealing with upper management; learn how to get your point across. How to be assertive and positive when dealing with your superiors.

5. Helping the Product Sell Itself

6. Know your product and pre planning

Through observation, reading and listening get to know your products (pre planning is essential in today's complex society).

7. Selling made as simple as A B C.

The procedure of selling.

8. "The Opening" (getting the attention of the buyer)

Creating the right atmosphere for a sale to take place.

9. "Closing a Sale" (overcoming objections)

Buyers will tend to look else where unless a salesman can close a sale in an appropriate amount of time (learn the secrets).

10. "Stress Management"

Learn the art of relaxation through stress management techniques.

11. The Law and Selling

12. Report Assessment Writing

Diverse Yet Detailed Professional Training

Learn about the approaches and processes to the operation and management of a business, and how to go about marketing the business and its products. You will then specialise by studying horticulture, understanding horticultural practices and then developing your knowledge of how a garden centre operates, and concluding your Stream studies by focussing selling goods.

The Qualification - Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Retail Nursery) is completed with an industry project. This enables the student to apply their knowledge by completing a project in a hypothetical or real environment where they can demonstrate their ability and understanding in managing a retail nursery business operation or an aspect of this.

This course represents a diverse yet detailed route of professional training for those looking to advance their career or move on to specialise in managing a retail nursery, or improve the operation of their own business.

You are supported in your studies by our specialist tutors who, themselves have a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in their business areas. Students can study online or by eLearning which means they decide when and where to study enabling them to continue with work and existing commitments.

The course can be started at any time.

If you have any questions or want to know more, please get in touch - contact us by phoning us on (UK) 01384 442752 (or, outside UK on +44 (0) 1384 442752) or use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.


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