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Qualification - Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (Parks & Recreation)

Course CodeVHT009
Fee CodeAD
Duration (approx)2500 hours
QualificationAdvanced Diploma

Learn the Skills Needed for Parks & Leisure Management

In order to work in managerial roles in the parks industry you need a range of skills and knowledge. These include horticulture basics as well as more specialised studies.  

This course provides a foundation for employment in the following roles: Parks Manager, Head Ranger, Parks Manager, Technical Officer, Park Interpretation Officer, Recreation Facility Manager, Vocational Trainer.


2,500 hours minimum nominal duration.

Being a self paced learning program, the student can study at a rate according to their ability and capabilities.

This course may be studied over 3 years or less on a full time basis, or up to 8 years on a part time basis.


There are no academic prerequisites for this course but it is expected that successful applicants have achieved an educational level that will enable the completion of the course objectives. 

Entry to this course is based on:

  • a person with 5 years industry experience;
  • year 12 standard of education;
  • mature age student.


Exemptions on past studies at diploma or higher levels may be granted (to cover no more than 33% of the entire course). A formal submission of Recognition of Prior Learning may be made, to achieve exemptions based on formal studies and experience (RPL forms are available on request).


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (Parks & Recreation).
 Botany I - Plant Physiology And Taxonomy BSC104
 Horticultural Research I BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Machinery and Equipment (Engineering I) BSC105
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Turf Care BHT104
 Horticultural Research II BHT241
 Playground Design BHT216
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT324
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 13 of the following 22 modules.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Ecotour Management BTR101
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Landscaping Styles (Landscaping III) BHT235
 Natural Garden Design BHT215
 Nature Park Management II BEN207
 Plant Protection BHT207
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Project Management BBS201
 Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens BHT243
 Roses BHT231
 Weed Control BHT209
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT325
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 Managing Notable Gardens and Landscapes BHT340
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
 Water Gardening BHT307

Note that each module in the Qualification - Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (Parks & Recreation) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Who Pays for Parks and Gardens?
Private gardens are paid for by the owners; but financing public gardens can be a little more complicated.
One of the factors that defines and constrains the management of amenity sites is funding. But although the amount of financing is important, the way it is managed is even more important, since badly managed resources means the whole operation is under threat, no matter how much money is coming in.
There are several aspects in the economy of amenity sites management:
  • What are we funding
  • Funding sources: public, private, mixed, by donations
  • Funding amounts 
  • Resource management
    •   Human resources: volunteers, outsourcing; motivating people
    • Material resources: cleaner production or eco-efficiency
    • Natural resources: sustainability
What Are We Funding?
In the management of amenity sites there are several items that require funding:
  • Running the site: These costs are associated with maintaining the site as it is; in other words, they are what it actually costs to have the amenity site operating on a permanent basis. This includes the costs of employing managers and permanent staff, funding maintenance works and materials associated with them, vehicles, energy and water, and paying licenses and taxes. 
  • Annual jobs or tasks: Some projects will be recurrent, perhaps once or twice per year, but they may last a short period of time. They are assigned to the annual budget, but not monthly. 
  • Establishing, improving or changing an amenity site: These are done as individual projects when required. Examples are designing and building a landscaped area, refurbishing the visitors’ centre, road improvements, building a car park, redesigning a park area, landscaping a new road, building a sports centre or an alpine refuge, and building a community garden.  The item to be funded will define the funding sources available. 
Funding Sources
Funding can come directly from public funds, such as governmental funds allocated to environmental agencies, health ministries, education and sports departments, etc. Or it can be provided by local governments. The source of funding will depend on who is administering the site and, in many cases, who is administering a certain project. In some instances and for some particular projects funding can come from local and federal governments at the same time.
If the site is of international importance, such as RAMSAR sites (wetland protection), funding can be also from international institutions like the UN, WHO, UNEP, World Bank, NATO, APEC, EU, or the Commonwealth, depending on which aspect is being targeted (public health, environment, social, etc). 
Another example of a governmental initiative is the DBU, one of the largest European environmental foundations, created by the German government with the funds, 1.3 billion euros, received after privatisation of the former steel group Salzgitter AG. Since 1991 DBU has funded almost 6400 projects, which have received financial backing totalling about € 1,2 billion. 
DBU funds promotional activities related to environmental technology and research, nature conservation, environmental communication and cultural assets. 
Funding can come also from private sources. Some private foundations provide funding for special projects, like the David Suzuki Foundation, Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation, and the Lindbergh Foundation. Also some large private companies, like 3M, Alaska Airlines and many others, provide funding on to establish a project or on a continuous base. An example of the latter is the support that Rolex, Land Rover and Shell International Ltd provide to the British Royal Geographic Society, along with thousands of individual benefactors.  It is always good to check with local companies if they are interested in funding a community initiative, as they may have some funding allocated for this as part of their social and environmental policies that they are not spending for lack of ideas!
Governmental bodies and some fund managing organisations also have funding allocated to community and environmental initiatives that they don’t use because nobody claims them. 
In some cases, funding comes from the local community, for example in community gardens. The local government (council) provides the land, and volunteers organise the work and do most of the tasks without being paid. Some additional fund-raising may be necessary, which the community itself gathers. This is only possible for low budget projects though.  
Other sources of funding, or at least of partial funding, can come from:
  • Admission charges: this is more common in private horticultural amenity sites, like botanical gardens, zoos, herbariums, etc
  • Donations: from individuals or organisations
  • Sponsorship: mostly from private companies that have funds allocated to finance environmental or social projects as part of their social and environmental responsibility programs 
  • Multi-use of facilities: local councils offer the use of community facilities to private users in exchange of a certain fee per hour or day, much like private managed event facilities, but in general with competitive prices.
Funding is out of necessity, the starting point for managing parks and other amenity horticulture resources. The start is however only one piece of the puzzle. Without the knowledge and skills to do the work properly; and the management systems to organise the use of available funds; very little can be done.
This is a holistic course, that provides an extensive foundation across all areas that a manager might find themselves working in.

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

Check out our eBooks

The Environment of PlayFirst published in the USA in 1982, this text has been used in the past as a university text (in landscaping and education degrees), and was completely revised in 2012. Full of inspiring colour images of playgrounds around the world, this book is ideal for designers, park managers, schools and parents! Play is the most important and effective method of learning for adults as well as children. It can be active or passive, planned or spontaneous. If you want to learn about the relationship between PLAY and the ENVIRONMENT, this is the ebook for you. Learn to understand children and design play spaces that function for homes, parks or school grounds. 187 pages
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.
Landscaping & Gardening in the ShadeThe ‘Landscaping and Gardening in the Shade’ ebook explain what you need to know about designing a shaded garden. It will go through specific plants you could use, how to care for them and different plant varieties that will give you a great shaded area.
Water Gardening This book is designed to inspire and educate presenting you with a wide range of possibilities and at the same time, raising your awareness and understanding of how water can be used in any size garden to add interest, coolness and life.