Otago Polytechnic

National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) Landscape Construction or Sustainable Horticulture

Got green thumbs and just twiddling them at the moment?

With your enjoyment of working outdoors, your planning and organisational skills and your eye for detail, why not get paid for doing what you love? New Zealand's diverse and robust horticulture and related industries have experienced steady growth over recent years and this looks set to continue well into the future. This means that qualified and experienced horticulturists in any specialist field are in demand across the country. This programme will provide you with an excellent grounding in the principles of horticulture with the flexibility to focus on the areas that interest you the most.

Begin your career in horticulture, landscaping or permaculture with this industry-standard qualification which includes a mix of theory and hands-on practical training. Make use of the productive nursery facilities, permaculture garden, Living Campus and the beautiful, internationally-acclaimed Dunedin Botanic Garden which is nestled in the hills close to the Polytechnic grounds.

All certificate and diploma horticulture qualifications are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Qualification titles and content may be altered as a result of the review but any changes will be introduced and communicated over a transitional period so that there is minimal impact on students. 

Skills required
  • Physical fitness
  • Good communication skills
  • To be efficient and motivated.
Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score less than 5.0.
Additional documentation

You must provide your academic records, proof of identity and proof of residency (if appropriate).

Selection procedure

Applications will be processed as they are received. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be placed on to a waiting list in the order that they applied.

Additional costs

Please note that many suppliers offer student discounts once you have enrolled and it is preferred that you wait until the first week of your programme before purchasing these items.

You will be required to have the following equipment and material (all costs below are approximate):

  • Steel toecap boots ($100-$150)
  • Secateurs ($40-$90)
  • Gloves ($10-$20)
  • Class 5 earmuffs ($40)
  • Safety glasses ($15)
  • Camera ($100)
  • Plant identification costs (photo printing) ($20)
  • Prescribed text books for Landscape construction ($150)
  • Prescribed text books for Sustainable Horticulture ($300). 
Further study options

Choose to expand your career options by undertaking the National Certificate in Horticulture (Advanced) (Level 4) in Dunedin. Another alternative would be to enrol in the Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5) or Diploma in Viticulture (Level 5).

Programme specific risks

You are advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme either in person or by telephone before you enrol. You are also advised of the need to purchase steel cap safety boots for practical work and the reasons for this. Risks include injury to the body due to the physical nature of horticultural work (manual labour, lifting, bending, working at heights, eyesight) and from using sharp tools (secateurs, saws, spades, lawn mowers etc) and machinery. There is a risk from poisonous plants, insect stings, the physical environment (excessive heat or cold, wet weather), working in isolation, chemical handling (limited on this programme) and machinery noise.

You will study

In addition to the compulsory units, you are able to choose the area of horticulture you are most interested in. There are two options: landscape construction or sustainable horticulture.

Qualification structure

COMPULSORY UNITS

You must study these compulsory units:

Unit of Learning

Unit Standard

Level

Credits

Protect health and safety in the workplace

497

1

3

Demonstrate knowledge of plant nomenclature

829

2

5

Identify plants

20574

2

5

Use and maintain small, powered amenity machinery and equipment

1667

3

5

Demonstrate knowledge of soil properties and their effect on plant growth

22175

3

10

Establish and maintain plant collections

21026

4

10

Propagate plants from seeds

20557

4

10

Produce a nursery crop

20567

4

20

Propagate plants by cuttings

20558

4

10

Establish and maintain amenity turf surfaces

24646

2

7

Option 1: Landscape Construction

This option is delivered throughout the year and you will gain both theory and practical knowledge of landscape construction skills.

Unit of Learning

Unit Standard

Level

Credits

Install drainage systems used in landscaping

992

3

4

Lay concrete as hard surface to specifications in landscape work

22196

3

10

Set out landscape site and site features from drawings

22199

4

10

Lay base and segmental pavers as hard surfaces in landscape work

22200

4

6

Construct brick and block features in landscape work

1011

4

8

Construct stone features in landscape work

1015

4

10

Install rocks as features in landscape work

1018

4

4

Construct timber features in landscape work 

2442

4

8

 

Option 2: Sustainable Horticulture

This option is delivered throughout the year and you will gain both theory and practical knowledge of sustainable horticulture skills.  

Unit of Learning

Unit Standard

Level

Credits

Demonstrate knowledge of factors influencing the development of organic horticulture in New Zealand

10325

4

10

Prune and train amenity trees and shrubs up to 4 metres high

21032

4

10

Re-vegetate indigenous plant areas

21033

4

10

Demonstrate knowledge of permaculture and plan a site

21041

3

10

Demonstrate and apply knowledge of vermiculture

21049

3

5

Identify and describe plant pests, diseases and disorders, and
methods of prevention and control

27208

3

8

Identify trees, shrubs and climbers used in amenity horticulture

24648

3

10

Your workload

You are expected to attend classes four days a week and then to spend one day per week focused on self-directed study. Work experience will also occur during the year.  

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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