Garden Academy


Set up in 2013 with the support of Adam Frost, Homebase’s Garden Academy aims to inspire and train the next generation of gardeners. Students spend time with Adam learning about everything from garden planning and planting, to complicated landscaping, as part of their training to achieve a Royal Horticultural Society Level 1 Award. They also work in the garden centres of Homebase stores throughout the year, to hone their knowledge of gardening products and understand what customers want for their garden.

The Garden Academy is a great opportunity for anyone looking to grow a career in gardening. In its 1st year, we saw 12 students graduate, but it’s been so successful in recent years that 40 new students joined the academy in September 2015. But the good news doesn’t stop there – we are now looking for an additional 40 green-fingered enthusiasts to start in the academy in January 2016.

Looking to apply?

Our application process is currently closed whilst we review candidates for the 3rd Garden Academy.

Meet some of this year’s graduates

Vicky Endersby - Leeds Moor Allerton store

Vicky has worked for Homebase for over 15 years. Although she has always enjoyed gardening, Vicky had never thought about pursuing it as a career until she found out about the Garden Academy. She was instantly inspired to apply and is in no doubt that she’s found her perfect job.

“I’m so pleased to have found a career that I find so gratifying,” she said. “The Academy has given me fantastic knowledge, confidence and inspiration to share with my colleagues and with customers who wish to create their own wonderful gardens. I hope my experience and passion will encourage others to pursue gardening as a career.”

Garden Academy Colleague

Alex Paines - Worle store

After spending much of his youth indoors playing computer games, Alex happily admits that he only discovered a love of horticulture after he began working in the garden centre at his local Homebase. Here, he began to teach himself as much as he could, from reading plant labels and books on gardening to asking colleagues and even customers to share their horticultural knowledge with him. His growing passion eventually led him to apply for the Garden Academy, giving him the opportunity he needed to take his knowledge and career to the next level.

Alex was thrilled to be part of the Academy. “Working at Homebase and being part of the Garden Academy has led me to rediscover my love for the outdoors,” he said. “I truly believe that the Garden Academy and its legacy will be the driving force for a kind of horticultural revolution, where more and more people, including younger people, will take up their trowels and enjoy their gardens”.

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Mike Gogerty - Worcester Blackpole store

Mike’s passion for gardening originally developed while working at a children’s home, where he would spend time working outdoors with autistic youngsters as part of their therapy. A change in career led Mike to a job in the garden centre at his local Homebase, and it was there that he heard about the Garden Academy and was inspired to apply.

“I love gardening and have developed a passion for garden design. There is so much to learn and I’ve got so many ideas from the Academy” Mike hopes to share his enthusiasm with the younger generation, and inspire them to follow in his footsteps. “Horticulture is misunderstood. If we can get children inspired and help people to discover it, they will see what fantastic career opportunities horticulture presents”.

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Nicola Oakey - Frome store

After studying for a degree in advertising, Nicola decided that an office job wasn’t for her and set about following in the footsteps of her florist parents by pursuing a career in gardening. She began by studying for a diploma in garden design, while at the same time gaining valuable experience as a volunteer at a National Trust garden. Nicola joined the Garden Academy as a way of building on her experience and gain new skills that she hopes will allow her to further her career in exciting new ways.

“Gaining my diploma gave me the first insight into the possibility of a career that combines being creative with my love of plants and gardens”, she enthused. “It is really satisfying to watch plants grow, help customers find the right plant or just spend time outside. It’s a career that is inspiring and full of variety”.

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