Horticulture learner grows new skills

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Horticulture ākonga Siobhan Hemingway has been awarded $2,000 towards fees for the new WITT Te Pūkenga Organic Primary Production Certificate (Level 4) programme starting this trimester thanks to the Ostler’s Garden Horticulture Scholarship (OGHS) and she couldn’t be happier.

“I am very excited about seeing where this qualification will lead,” she says.

With interests in promoting healthy food for local communities, market gardening, nursery work and teaching children about growing food, the possibilities are endless.

Siobhan is gaining valuable real-world experience as she studies. She is working in the garden centre at Mitre 10 and every Sunday you’ll see her setting up the Taranaki Famers Market where she works as an assistant ensuring the weekly event runs smoothly.

It was at the Farmers Market where Siobhan first met her horticulture tutor Carl Freeman, who at the time was running his market garden, Freeman Farms, and selling produce at the market.

“Carl has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share,” she says.

She recommends the level 3 horticulture programme at WITT and describes it as a great introduction covering so many topics. She singles out propagation and nursery work as her favourite areas.

“It’s ideal for anyone with an interest in gardening, from home gardeners to those who want to use their new skills to step into a career.”

WITT Te Pūkenga Tutor Carl Freeman says he is pleased to have Siobhan back in the classroom and says: “It was clear to see that Siobhan had found her path with a love for gardening, propagation and plants, wherever her path leads, Siobhan will be a valued asset to horticulture in Taranaki.”

The Organic Primary Production Certificate (Level 4) programme builds on the foundation knowledge gained in the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) programme and can be taken alongside the level 3 qualification as they are both run part-time. Both programmes also have plenty of hands-on learning on offer and include regular field trips to local growers, nurseries and places of interest. The level 4 programme deliberately starts in July to follow the seasons – planning in winter, doing in spring) and finally evaluation at summer’s end.

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