HND Horticulture

Campus: SRUC Edinburgh

Current student

“The course design and the lecturers and instructors are supportive of students, welcoming and encouraging, and actively want students to succeed.”



Lilias Fraser from Edinburgh had previously worked as an administrator in Higher Education before deciding to study the HND Horticulture course at SRUC Edinburgh campus. Lilias worked in public engagement and live literature in a poetry library for 15 years, then five years in a team supporting academic researchers to make research funding applications.

Lilias says : “I’ve been incredibly lucky to work in jobs that have been completely absorbing and rewarding – it’s not that I’ve always had a lifelong passion to be a gardener, because I was probably Girl Voted Most Likely To Have Nose In A Book (and it wasn’t a book on biology or horticulture, either). But you don’t always stay exactly the same person right through your life, and after a baby, family loss, lockdown, like a lot of people I think I realised I had at least another career’s worth of time in the tank before retirement age and I wanted to do something different. (Also, like a lot of people, I realised that there is a load of time for a second career – whether you have to because of redundancy, or because you want to take the opportunity for a second chance. If you’ve previously been funded for Higher Education fees as a Scottish student but the course was before 2002-3, it’s really worthwhile checking the SAAS guidance – things have changed in the last couple of years, so now you might be able to apply for course fees again.)”

“I went to talk to the manager of a nearby large garden, and instead of her talking me out of this ridiculous idea, she offered me a day’s work a week through the winter so I could test my enthusiasm, and she was even my referee for the UCAS application to the course. Now, being outside every day, getting muddy, pruning trees and learning how to drive a lawnmower the size of a tank seems like a fantastic way of spending the next half of my working life.”

“It is a specialist course that combines hands-on practical skills with horticultural knowledge. The more horticulture and garden professionals I talk to, the more I realise how well recognised and well thought-of the course is (and half of them trained here).”

“My experience at SRUC has been great. The course design and the lecturers and instructors are supportive of students, welcoming and encouraging, and actively want students to succeed. The course students are a really good, wide mix of ages and interests (I’m not the only midlife career change), and it’s a friendly, relaxed and engaged atmosphere. I really love that we can be practising trimming a hedge, and learning plant biology, and both kinds of knowledge are respected and valued.”

“It’s making possible things I thought I couldn’t possibly do, I’m physically healthier, mentally happier and I’m flexing bits of my brain I didn’t know I had. It really is opening (garden) doors.”

“Once I complete the course my plan is to build a small, local gardening business.”


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