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Growing Technology

Growing Technology Course Overview

Would you like to graduate with the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (General) and launch your career in the Horticulture industry? This NZQA approved programme is available to students from our Training Centre on a part time basis. We have designed this programme to provide flexibility of delivery to suit the wide range of sectors and diverse workplaces in the industry. The programme has a significant amount of practical on-site training on a horticulture property involving every day seasonal horticultural tasks. This allows those who are already working a chance to complete their practical training within their workplace and introduces those who are entering the industry with an appreciation of what is involved with a career in horticulture. This programme is ideal for you if you:

  • are already working part time in Horticulture
  • are looking to enter the industry and get your first job in horticulture
  • want to be self-employed with your own horticulture business venture
  • want to learn more about horticulture for your own property

Gold Kiwifruit Harvest Time


This is an NZQA approved entry-level programme designed to introduce you to a range of growing systems and environments and give you the fundamental plant science knowledge and the practical skills to perform routine horticultural tasks. You can tailor this programme to suit your needs We have developed our horticulture programmes so you get to decide what your main study focus will be. This is so that you can choose topics that are relevant to the sector or job you are training for. All you have to do is choose a crop, plant, group of plants or a growing system to develop into your own main study focus. We will then use your focus area as the context and we will deliver the knowledge, projects, practical skills and the work placement you will need to achieve the programme using your focus area. PCTI has set modules for this programme and will include a range of horticulture sectors, contexts and examples in the prescribed training throughout the programme. Graduates will:

  • Gain recognised skills and knowledge, learn how to work safely and productively with plants on a horticulture property
  • Be capable of working under limited supervision within the horticulture industry

Graduates of this qualification may be employed or self-employed, and/or move flexibly between a range of horticultural enterprises. This qualification will also be suitable for small block owners or for mature learners who wish to gain knowledge of horticultural science in a range of general horticulture growing systems and practices. You can follow this course with further training towards the:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Production or Services (Level 4) then on to;
  • A New Zealand Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5/6)

Most graduates will seek employment and complete their further training through an on job training so they can earn as they learn. Register Now

Practical Training

There is a significant amount of practical, on-site training to complete the on-course requirements. How this happens will depend on your individual situation. For example, if you are working full-time or part-time in the industry your practical hours will occur naturally within your workplace. Or if you do not have access to an apiary we will organise a work experience placement for you.

Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)

We have developed the modules in this programme so that Employers can have the training accepted as ‘formal courses’ under GAP NZ general regulations. The modules which would qualify as GAP formal courses included within this programme of study at level 3 is as follows: General Horticulture:  Plant Protection | Fertiliser | Integrated Pest Management (Modules 2 | Module 3 | Module 4)

Certificate Awarded

  • New Zealand Certificate in General Horticulture – Level 3 (60 Credits)

Programme Modules

The programme includes the following Level 3 Modules: Module 1 – Plant Science

  • This module provides students with fundamental knowledge in Plant Science to apply during plant identification and to understand how environmental factors can influence plant growth and the underpinning knowledge supporting plant husbandry techniques to optimise plant health.

Module 2 – Soil & Growing Media Science

  • This module provides students with fundamental knowledge in Soil and Growing Media Science to apply to identifying soil textures and to understand how modifying soil properties can influence plant growth and plant health.
  • The module also is designed to provide opportunities to explore the role of fertilisers in horticulture and will include best practice fertiliser application based on codes of practice developed by industry.

Module 3 – Plant Selection & Communities

  • This module provides students with the opportunity to identify a crop, community or grouping of plants sharing a common physical environment, within a defined area, cultivated, naturally occurring or planned that interact with each other and specific living organisms to produce food, provide amenity or cultural value.
  • This study draws on the fundamentals of plant science and will allow students to discover the relationships between plants, their form, function, properties and purpose within their environments to support why plants are selected, and are grown together in niche ecosystems or environments to optimise plant health, growth or production.

Module 4 – Growing Systems & Environments

  • The aim of this module is to provide students with practical field/workplace experience in the horticulture sector and the opportunity to apply knowledge of a growing system and environment to grow the plants they have chosen in their main study topic.
  • Students will gain the skills and knowledge and where required meet the industry pre-requisite achievements required to use the equipment and tools required to perform a range of tasks, then apply the knowledge of a growing system and environment to perform a range of horticultural tasks to support the establishment and/or growth and maintain the health of plants.
  • The range of tasks will include an introduction to Integrated Pest Management and Weed Control. The remaining tasks will be confirmed during the programme to support the main study focus area chosen by the student however it is expected fit within the range of common expected core skills to start working in the horticulture industry. For example; planting, pruning, site preparation.

Potato Irrigation


  • No academic requirements. Open Entry.

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Start Dates and Duration

  • There will be several intakes as advertised during the year with each intake commencing once minimum numbers are achieved.
  • This part time programme is 30 weeks including 3 weeks holiday and 4 weeks or 20 days of work placement.
  • There is a commitment to attend training sessions for approx. 22 of the 30 weeks for 2, 6 hour days a week, based out of our training centre.
  • There is also self-directed learning projects to complete throughout the programme.
  • The training days are a mixture of tutorials, skills workshops, practical group tasks, site visits and managing project work.


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Main Study Focus Areas

Main Study Focus areas will need to be planned and approved to ensure that you will be able to achieve the requirements of the programme. Your study will be focused on the infrastructure, growing environment, plants, the growing practices and protection systems required to grow healthy plants from sourcing through propagation, nursery systems, planting then on to production Your study may start from anywhere along the plants lifecycle and will be dependent on when during its lifecycle, the plant is introduced into your growing system or environment. (Eg Container grown plants ready to be planted). Your study will also cover the entire lifecycle of the crop / plants chosen. You may choose more than one main study focus area during the programme. The aim of a study focus area is for you to design your own learning and introduce yourself to the areas that you are interested in and may study further, commence your own project with or get a job doing. Examples of Major Study Focus based on selecting a crop, group of plants or specific growing system could be:

  • A Horticultural Production Crop and their growing systems – Kiwifruit, Avocado,
  • Conservation Project (Native Nursery to sustainable Eco System)
  • Property Specific Project
  • Garden Centre (Plant Science | Pests & Disease| Soil & Fertilisers | Plant growing techniques)
  • Garden Design – (Plants & Design | Growing & Site Environments | Plant Selection & Planting Plans)
  • Permaculture – Vegetables
  • Organic Crop(s) – (Production Cycle)
  • Lifestyle Block – Self Sustainability (Food year round)
  • Hydroponics Production + Crop(s)
  • Glasshouse Production + Crop(s)
  • Nursery Production + Plant(s)
  • Container Growing + Plant(s)
  • Open Ground Nursery + Crop(s)
  • Floriculture +Crop(s)

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We will send you a detailed Programme Overview and Enrolment Form.

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