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European Social Fund

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The Conservation Volunteers offer a programme of free training and support to unemployed people, to help them gain skills and qualifications and move on to employment or further training. The Training for Employment Programme is funded by European Social Fund and Department for the Economy.

We offer this programme in two main ways, through a programme of volunteering and training with TCV’s own projects or through outreach projects where TCV staff visit a community group on a weekly basis and provide training to a group at a venue close to where they live.

We help people gain skills relevant to both the land-based sector and many other sorts of employment

The horticulture and land-based sector is a big employer and employment opportunities include:

  • Gardening
  • Parks and open spaces
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Greenkeeping and golf course management
  • Sports turf and sports fields
  • Garden centres
  • Landscape contractors
  • Plant nurseries
  • Private gardens and estates

There are also many jobs in horticulture which have quite low entry requirements and many seasonal jobs for the summer months. This makes it easier for you to get a first job and then move up to better paid and more complex roles.

Training for Employment

Are you unemployed and aged 16 or over? Would you like to work in the great outdoors? We are looking for people seeking to gain the practical experience, skills and qualifications to pursue a career in horticulture, conservation or land management. Based at one of our offices in Belfast, Bangor, Coleraine, L/Derry and also through outreach groups we will help you to increase your employment prospects through practical action and training.

Qualifications you can gain

We offer a range of vocational qualifications and short courses including:

  • Level 1 Award and Certificate in Practical Horticulture 
  • First Aid certificate
  • Construction Skills Register Card (CSR) training
  • Introductory Health & Safety Certificate
  • Machinery use certificates

Other support we can provide

  • Practical work experience on different horticultural and environmental projects
  • On-site training
  • Job search support and training
  • Help with curriculum vita and job applications
  • We will pay all relevant registration and assessment fees
  • Provide all relevant personal protective equipment 
  • We may provide some expenses for travel and lunch
  • Self-employment

Length of programme

Most participants agree to attend a programme which is often around 12 weeks in length and will involve several days each week.

Further information

For further information on training programmes or to arrange a meeting to discuss the options further contact:

This programme is possible due to funding from The European Social Fund and Department for the Economy.