Senior Gardener

University of Oxford

Job Title: Senior Gardener

Department: Estates Services – Parks Department 

Grade & Salary: Grade 4: £25,138 – £28,759 per annum 

Location: Tentorium – South Lodge, South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3RF 

Contract Type: Permanent

Hours: Full Time (36.5 hours/week)

About Us

The University of Oxford’s Estates Services oversees the management and strategic development of the University’s extensive estate. This includes properties used for research, teaching, student accommodation, and commercial activities.

Within Estates Services, the Parks Department is responsible for maintaining the beautiful green spaces that contribute to Oxford’s unrivalled campus environment. This includes the maintenance of the iconic University Parks as well as the grounds surrounding department buildings across the estate.

The Parks Department team has established working relationships with Colleges and local organisations, offering high quality horticultural and arboricultural services. This contract work generates essential income to facilitate continued excellence in the care of the University’s gardens and landscapes.

The Parks Department employs dedicated specialist staff and invests in advanced equipment to deliver their services to the highest standards. They are committed to sustainable practices and carbon reduction strategies.

The department’s work ensures that the University’s staff, students, and visitors – whether part of the University community or tourists exploring the city of Oxford – can enjoy the University’s exceptional gardens and parklands.

About the Role

As a Senior Gardener, you will play a pivotal role in the care and maintenance of the University Parks and the broader green estate. This position offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Oxford while contributing to the preservation and development of these cherished green spaces.

Key Responsibilities:

•       Grounds Maintenance: You will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including mechanical and chemical weed control, sweeping, litter removal, clearance work, cultivations, and mulching. Your meticulous attention to detail will ensure that our grounds remain pristine and inviting.

•       Horticultural Expertise: Pruning shrubs, climbers, and small trees, as well as caring for plantings through staking, training, and plant protection measures, will be a significant part of your role. Your green thumb and knowledge of plant care will be invaluable.

•       Border Maintenance: You’ll oversee the care of shrubs, herbaceous plants, and seasonal bedding, contributing to the ever-changing beauty of the green spaces you tend.

•       Lawn Maintenance: Maintaining high-quality lawn areas through mowing, seasonal operations, and the application of fertilizers and herbicides will be essential to uphold the parks’ standards.

•       Equipment Operation: You’ll safely operate a range of vehicles and machinery, ensuring routine maintenance and daily checks to guarantee optimal performance.

•       Landscape Operations: Under supervision, you’ll implement drawings, measure, and lay out designs and planting schemes, contributing to the aesthetic appeal of our green spaces.

•       Leadership: Leading teams of staff on project work and routine tasks, you will ensure safe working practices are followed, fostering teamwork and cooperation.

•       Mentorship: As part of our commitment to growth and development, you’ll have the opportunity to mentor apprentices and other team members, sharing your expertise and helping them thrive in their roles.

•       Deputizing: In the absence of Gardening Team Leaders, you may be called upon to step into leadership roles, showcasing your leadership and problem-solving abilities.

•       Responsibility: You’ll take ownership of an agreed-upon area of work or duty, demonstrating your dedication and accountability.

In this role, no two days will be the same, offering you a dynamic and engaging work environment. Your ability to adapt, lead, and inspire your team will be crucial in maintaining the high standards that define our green spaces.

If you have a passion for horticulture, a commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the University Parks, and a desire to make a lasting impact, we invite you to join our team as a Senior Gardener. Your dedication will contribute to the ongoing legacy of these iconic spaces.

About You

To thrive in this role, you should possess the following essential qualifications and attributes:

•       A craft qualification in horticulture or relevant experience.

•       PA1 and PA6 pesticide certification.

•       A full, clean driving license.

•       Proven horticultural background (other land-based backgrounds may be relevant).

•       Good plant knowledge.

•       Experience in the use and operation of various horticultural and grounds care equipment.

•       A flexible and adaptable approach to work.

•       Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to lead and liaise efficiently with the management team.

•       The drive to mentor apprentices and train others.

•       The ability to take responsibility for an agreed area of work/duty.

While not required, the following qualifications and skills would be desirable:

•       Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) license.

•       Towing license.

•       CSCS skills card for the construction industry.

•       Plant operator’s certification (e.g., excavators, IPAF, dumpers, etc.).

What We Offer

As an employer, we genuinely care about our employees’ wellbeing and this is reflected in the range of benefits that we offer including:

•               Comprehensive in-house training program, including certifications in Pedestrian Powered Machinery, First Aid, and a range of other valuable training opportunities, to empower your skillset and career advancement

•               An excellent contributory pension scheme for your financial future

•               38 days annual leave (inclusive of public holidays)

•               Personal and professional development opportunities

•               A comprehensive range of childcare services for working parents

•               Generous family leave for pregnancy, adoption, paternity, and shared parental leave

•               Cycle loan scheme to encourage sustainable commuting

•               Discounted bus travel and Season Ticket travel loans

•               Membership to a variety of social and sports clubs 

Application Process

To apply for this position, please submit the following documents as part of your online application:

•       Covering letter/supporting statement

•       Curriculum vitae (CV)

•       Contact details of two referees (only contacted if you are successful)

Only applications received before 12 pm on Friday 6th October 2023 can be considered.

Interviews are due to take place in person on Monday 16th October and Tuesday 17th October 2023. 

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