Night classes for EIT’s free New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture [Level 3] (General) are proving to be very popular among working professionals who are keen to turn their passion for plants into expertise.
This semester has seen students enrolled for the qualification undergoing a course in Plant Propagation.
Tutor Gerard Henry says the class consists of people with a variety of careers, but who are all passionate about plants.
“They’re all fairly motivated about growing plants at home and many of them have a keen interest in indoor plants, which are quite the trend at the moment. They came into the course expecting a spectrum of plants, so we have incorporated our native flora into the course.”
“We’re based in the nursery, in the potting shed, which we have set up as a classroom.”
Gerard says the course is modelled on what fulltime students are doing during the day and is “very hands-on” with students learning how to sow and prick out seeds, take cuttings and different techniques of vegetative propagation”.
“They are a different flavoured cohort from our normal daytime students, so it’s very much about coming together and learning about something they enjoy and love.”
He tries to give his students variety with a recent session involving laboratory work.
“We were in the laboratory, and we were doing some micropropagation, where we dissected some leaves and sterilized them and put them into Petri dishes. We try to give the students something obviously that they wouldn’t do at home.”
Gerard, who has been working at EIT for 12 years, says the programme consists of a mixture of practical and theoretical work. The theory component requires students to submit a paper for a written assessment.
He says the Propagation part of the programme is just the start and he hopes that students will go on to achieve the Certificate by completing the remaining three courses – Plant Science, Growing Systems and Plant Health.
Programme Coordinator Jackie Lynch says the night class has been very successful.
“We are planning to run another one next semester about the inner workings of plants, their growth, structure and growing processes plus plant identification including their botanical names, starting Tuesday 20th July, 5-8pm.”
Find more details about this programme and others here.