My extended apologies for the ever-so-late reply. For whatever my input rate. I have been in the position to take on staff for general gardening/horticultural duties.
Although I can't say that my mind was ever made up for me, by my peers. I must confess that when interviewing a candidate. Yes. I was looking for experience, or at least an indicator that this person was eager to get started and get his/her hands dirty. I always looked for sincerity of wanting to learn more and to become part and parcel of the team.
Regarding the more educated. To be truthful. I always sensed an air of defiance. How do I interpret that. Well being the intervewier, I felt that I was the applicant. The person before me was certificated a GOD.
This migh go down well in recuiting for science labs. General all round gardening . NO.
To be perfectly honest. In the academic world. So many certificates are about as valuable as a sheet of Andrex.
For instance. Whilst in the employment of the GLC. I had a man, who came from Wisbeach. He was a tractor driver, barely able to write his name. Believe me. OK. He and I and our wives became great friends. Nevertheless, this man knew and had far more practicle experience than all the certificated applicants put together.
I rest my case.