Horticulture Programme

Longford/Westmeath Educational Training Board in conjunction with Westmeath Community Development and Belvedere House Gardens & Park  run a Local Training Initiative in Mullingar.

Purpose of programme:

Designed to provide trained personnel for the Horticulture Industry

Level 5 QQI (Fetac) Accreditation Major award in Horticulture

  • Plant Science
  • Soil Science and Growing Media
  • Plant Identification and use
  • Fruit & Vegetable Production
  • Team Working
  • Organic Production
  • Plant Propogation
  • Plant Protection
  • Work Experience
  • Safe pass
  • Manual Handling

How long is the course?

The course is run for a duration of 50 weeks.  Full Time Monday to Friday.

  • Monday - Thurs 9.30am-4pm
  • Friday 9.30am-1pm

What do you gain?

  • The horticulture programme provides training within the 17th century walled garden at Belvedere House, Garden and Park, Mullingar with Access to over 120 acres for observation and research purposes.
  • Level 5 QQI (Fetac) Accreditation Major Award in Horticulture (CASHX)

Further Education Opportunities

  • Advanced Certificate in Horticulture Level 6, Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin
  • Bachelor of science in Horticulture Level 7-Botanic Gardens
  • Apply for direct entry to the year 2 of the Bachelor of science in Horticulture-Level 7 at Waterford IT.
  • Apply for entry into year 1 bachelor of science in Horticulture-Level 7 at Blanchardstown IT.
  • Level 7 Botanics through the CAO


Entry Requirements

  • Applicants should be between 16 and 35 Years of age with no formal education.
  • Must be well motivated and have a positive attitude towards working in the Horticulture Sector.
  • Must have own transport  to get to and from Belvedere house and Gardens and Westmeath Community Development, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.
  • Have a minimum Junior Certificate/Equivalent
  • Experience an advantage
  • Suitable candidates will be selected through interview process
  • This Course requires Garda Vetting.
  • Normal LWETB Allowances will apply.

How to Apply:

Register at your local Employment Office (Intreo) or for more information, contact us directly at Belvedere

For further information and to register for this course, contact your local ETB Office or for more info contact Eileen Mulligan or John Smith or call 087-7923349 or via our Facebook Group Page

Vacancy: Temporary Assistant LTI Coordinator

Westmeath Community Development

(In association with Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board)

wishes to recruit a

Local Training Initiative

Temporary Assistant Co-Ordinator

To assist the Co-ordinator in administering and facilitating on a full-time basis, a Local Training Initiative (LTI) Programme. This full-time programme, delivered at Belvedere House and Gardens, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is based on a contract which is subject to continuity of funding by Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB). It aims to provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to work in the Horticulture industry.

Continue Reading


Student’s taking Horticulture to a new Level

Westmeath Community Development in association with SOLAS and Westmeath County Council provides some of the best facilities for students to practice horticultural excellence in the beautiful setting of Belvedere House, Gardens & Park.


Level 5 Horticulture Students: Back Row (L-R) Ross Sweeney. George Smyth, Sean Mullen, Martina Scally, Rimantas Plauska, Ger Pegman, Darren Lynch, Gareth Robinson, Bill Nally, Vincent McLaughlin, Adam Lawton Front Row (L-R) John Bastic, Gerry Kelly, Anne-Marie Fleming, Martin Duggan

Last year saw the students appeared in Dermot O’Neill’s Secret Garden, when they worked alongside the celebrity garden expert.

This year the student’s focus has been geared to developing parts of the Belvedere estate, most notably the Victorian Walled Garden and the landscaping of some of the banked areas towards the main entrance.

They have also engaged in the creation of a seed bank just like that at Kew Gardens in the UK. Seeds collected from mother stock all over the estate have been stored using methods which mimic nature’s dormancy. Each species has a unique set of instructions which requires logging and labelling for scientific purposes. The idea behind this is to create enough stock to replace the trees and shrubs of this great estate.

Continue Reading


New training facilities launched for Horticulture LTI programme

Opening Ceremony of New Training facilities for Horticulture Programme in Belvedere

In picture from L - R; Maurice Stenson (Belvedere Manager), Jimmy Dalton (Director of Services) Joe Potter (CEO Westcd) Terri Clarke (FAS) John Smyth (Assistant Co-Ordinator) Majella Maher (Co-Ordinator)

New facilities for the Horticulture Programme were launched on Friday 21st June 2013 at Belvedere House and Gardens, Mullingar.

These new training facilities contain a large training room and a fully equipped laboratory and a beautiful landscaped area that was designed and built by John Smyth Horticulture tutor and students of the Horticulture Programme. The new facilities are located in the overflow car park in Belvedere house and gardens which is a central location for practical horticulture training in the walled garden, the fairy garden and access to the glasshouse and polytunnels in partnership with Westmeath County Council.

The opening ceremony also included the graduation of 17 students who completed this year's Level 5 Horticulture programme. Terri Clarke, FAS, presented the students with their Level 5 Major award certificates. To date, almost 60% of the students have progressed to employment and third level education form this course.

The next programme is due to commence Monday 15th July for 43 Weeks. For more information on the course please contact Co-Ordinator Majella Maher 087-7923349 or email mmaher@westcd.ie or go to www.westcd.ie.



Westmeath Horticulture Course star in Dermot O’Neill’s new series “Dermot’s Secret Garden”

Westmeath Horticulture Course star in Dermot O’Neill’s new series “Dermot’s Secret Garden”

Students on Westmeath Community Development Horticulture Course, based in Belvedere House and Gardens got the opportunity of a lifetime to star in the new series of Dermot O’Neill’s programme “Dermot’s Secret Garden” which will air this Thursday 14th February on RTE one at 7pm. 

The series consists of six episodes. Dermot decides to enlist the help of gardening expert and tutor John Smyth and the students of this FAS sponsored Local Training Initiative Gardening course  to help with the arduous task of preparing the ground for their ambitious project. And in return he offers gardening lectures.


Over the last two years Dermot has been involved with the students on varies projects including the building of the LARCC garden project in Multyfarham, restoration of the walled garden at Belvedere and including many projects regarding his own private walled garden at Clondeglass, Co. Laois. This has been a unique opportunity for students to engage with world renowned plant expert ganing knowledge in planting schemes and projects.

Dermot’s private garden is closed to the public and for Dermot to allow our Students to work closely with him is something that Westmeath Community Development is very proud to be part of.  Clondeglass has been very important in Dermot’s personal come back from illness. It houses his own private plant collection and the students have gained important knowledge regarding horticulture through Dermot’s vast knowledge on the subject.

Speaking about the project, John Smyth, Horticulture Tutor, noted  “It has been a unique experience to work with Dermot and all Horticultural students who played their part in bringing Dermot’s dream to life”.

The students are based in Belvedere House and Gardens where they are completing a FETAC level 5 major award in Horticulture under Tutor John Smyth and Co-Ordinator Majella Maher. The course was established in 2009 and it has been oversubscribed every year.  The course is a progression path to further education and many of the students are currently completing the Horticulture degree in Blanchardstown IT and the Botanic gardens. Course coordinator Majella Maher commented “We are looking forward to seeing the impact that the students have made regarding this and we would like to thank everyone who was involved “.

The Programme is sponsored by Westmeath Community Development in association with FAS and Westmeath County Council. If you would like to learn more about the programme and for details on the next Horticulture Programme please contact the course Co-Ordinator Majella Maher 087-7923349 or mmaher@westcd.ie .