Inside our Horticulture Certificate 2 course – What’s it really like?

How do I know that the RTBG and GlobalNet Academy Certificate II in Horticulture is the right course for me?

We answer some common questions about what our courses are really like.

Who will my classmates be?

There is no such thing as an “average class” in our Certificate 2 and 3 courses. A look around the room in this years Certificate 2 class sees people who are employed full time, part time and people who are looking for work. Most are not employed in occupations related to horticulture. They are looking for a change of career, a leg up into a new career or just to get a bit of practical knowledge under their belts for their own gardens.

Will I fit in?

Although everyone is nervous in the first few weeks, it doesn’t take long for new friendships to get started. Our students come from hugely diverse backgrounds and are a mix of ages. The one thing they have in common is that they have an interest in plants and horticulture. If you have the same interest, no matter how developed or undeveloped it may be, you will fit right in. We put an emphasis on treating each other with respect and dignity. Of course there are jokes and a bit of gentle ribbing here and there, but respect is always at the core of how we interact with each other.

Im not 18 years old will I feel like I’m “back in school?”

The make up of our classes is a mix of ages.  You will not feel like you stand out, no matter what age you are or what your educational background is.  You may be fresh from school or you may have last studied a number of decades ago.  This is not school!  Our students are adults learning and sharing knowledge.  We are here to pass on horticultural knowledge and ideas and our students are here to learn important skills and techniques.  There are no formal “exams” to sit at the end of the course.  There will be small tests on the way through, but students will be given every chance to go back and make sure they have the knowledge they need to pass them.

Will I have to have previous horticulture training or experience?

No. A lot of our current Certificate 2 students don’t have experience in the industry or any sort of previous formal horticultural study behind them. The course is designed to ease you into horticulture without loading you up with too much technical learning too soon. As our students progress through the course the learning becomes more intensive and the demands on each student’s time increase.

Do I have to learn Latin or scientific plant names?

Yes you do! Most of our students have not used Latin names for plants before. It does seem daunting to have to know 50 plants by their Latin names and be able to recognise and describe them from memory.   But the task is broken up into manageable blocks and every student can do it by the end of the Certificate 2 course.

What are the teachers like?

Our teachers and instructors are as diverse as our students. These are not people who have sat behind a desk for the last 20 years, nor are they “career teachers”. We believe the best people to pass on the skills and knowledge relevant to the industry are those working directly in it. Our instructors have a huge amount of industry knowledge and can answer just about anything that you can throw at them. They are approachable and willing to go out of their way to make sure you get the most out of your time with us. Some of their methods may be a little different from what you are used to, but this isn’t school, that’s the point!

Is the work mostly “theory” or “hands on?”

The work is a balance between the two. Even in the theory classes, our students often are working with real plants, cuttings, soils and growing media to reinforce the techniques being described by the instructors. Wherever possible, the instructors will direct learning to being “hands on” to provide the students with real life examples.

In the practical sessions, the work often starts with a quick theory recap and then it’s hands to shovels, wheelbarrows and secateurs under the guidance of our instructors or Royal Botanical Gardens staff. “Practical” days happen roughly once a month for our part time classes and weekly for our full timers. A typical day might be an activity like collecting and preparing cuttings. Each student will be given a demonstration and then take and prepare their own cuttings, potting them up into a growing media that they have prepared themselves. They go through all the relevant plant and glasshouse safety checks and paper work as they go. The students would then be expected to write the activity up as a diary entry or maybe to answer a series of written questions on the day’s activities.

How “physical” is the work?

Anyone with an average level of fitness and ability will find the course manageable. There are significant physical aspects to the field and practical days. An example is planting fruit trees. This requires students to use shovels to dig holes, load up wheelbarrows with compost and soils and moving the trees into the holes and back filling. All work and lifting is done within OH and S guidelines, but it is physical work. If you are concerned about your level of fitness or ability, contact us here at Globalnet Academy and we can have a chat about how we can work together to meet your needs.

What’s involved with work placements? Will I get to choose where I go?

Work placements are a way of getting you out into the real horticultural industry in Tasmania. We arrange placements with a wide range of organisations and employers from nurseries, institutions and groups to golf courses, tree farms, in fact pretty much anywhere you want to go. If you come to us with an idea of where you would like to do a placement, we will do everything we can to make it happen. The work you will be doing will be the “real” side of what each organisation does on a daily basis. It may be putting in irrigation systems, planting out nursery stock, potting up seedlings, even mowing the lawns at Government House. The work might be long and repetitive but it will be providing you with skills and experience that you cant get anywhere else.

What is the workload like?

The workload on our students is designed to be manageable around work and family commitments. It is a significant commitment of time and energy and something that our students really have to keep on top of. We require a very high standard of our students and completion of practical assessments, questions and assignments is mandatory. We require our students to attend all of the practical sessions or to make up the time for those they have missed. The golden rule here is “you get out of this course what you put into it”. Generally our students find that if they keep up to date with written and practical work, they can stay on top of things with relative ease.

What’s the Hardest part of the course?

Our students tell us it’s the Plant ID subject. By the end of the course they have been tested on 50 plants. This means walking into a room with 10 plant cuttings, writing down the scientific name, the growth habit, the plant’s preference for sun/shade and other relevant features of the plant from memory. It sounds hard, but by the end of the course, every student has successfully conquered the list.

Will I pass?

This is entirely up to you.  If you put in the work and set time aside for study, you will be able to successfully complete the course and gain a qualification.  We work with you to make sure you are getting the work done and meeting the assessment requirements but if you do not meet the assessment requirements, fail to attend classes or fail to hand in work, you will not pass!  We do not automatically pass students and you will not be able to coast through this course.  It requires a significant time commitment and we expect a high standard of our students.

What sort of industry will this training prepare me for?

Horticulture is a hugely diverse field. Students can end up in nurseries, scientific institutions, schools, production farms, seed farms, golf courses, botanical gardens, councils, private enterprise and just about any other industry. The skills taught in our courses are widely transferrable across all areas of horticulture. With the growing food safety and food awareness movements in Australia, there has never been a more diverse range of career paths in Horticulture.

Will I automatically get a job at the end of the course?

No. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of any given course. Completing a certificate course will provide you with skills and qualifications that will help you find work in the industry but it is a competitive industry and there are many people seeking work in it. We cant promise you that you will secure a job after studying with us, although many of our graduates now do have work in the industry. What we can do for you is make sure you have skills and training to put you at the top of the pile of potential employees and ensure you have the best chance of making a success of employment opportunities that are put before you.

To have a chat about the course and your suitability for it, Telephone: +61 (0)3 6234 5794 or E-mail: info@globalnetacademy.edu.au