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Qualification - Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (Parks & Recreation)

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


The Advanced Diploma is comprised of core and elective modules, Work and Research Projects and also Industry Meetings and Seminars.

Core modules are the compulsory subjects that must be completed and the remaining electives can be chosen to reflect individual interests or requirements.

1.     A. CORE MODULES (12)

      B. ELECTIVES (8)
Choices Include:

Outlines of these modules and other modules may be found on our course website.

You must complete two industry focused, PBL based modules which are 100hrs in duration(or equivalent). Documentation that specifies what is required can be provided so that these requirements may be satisfied by working with a professional anywhere in the world. Ask for further information.

Attendance at conferences, seminars etc totaling 100 hrs

Two research projects (2 X 100 hrs) must also be completed, which deal with different aspects of the workplace.

The modules are divided into stages. In stage 1, you study Biochemistry, Business Studies, Instructional Skills, and Workplace Health & Safety as your core electives. This stage is completed before workshops, research projects or other modules.The remaining core modules are then completed before commencing electives.

Note: Fees cover all tuition and "essential" texts.
They do not include fees for any Industry conferences or seminars which are attended.

Note: Course fee does not include exam fees - see Exams for more information.

What is the Scope of Work for a Parks Manager?

In the past, amenity horticulture sites and leisure services in most developed countries, were mostly funded by government agencies. Today though, with public funding under greater pressure, the situation is often different. Traditional ways of operating are often no longer sustainable, and all managers of amenity horticulture sites need to adopt the concepts and techniques used in the business world.

Here are some general management options:

  • Fully publicly managed. This type of management is typical of amenity horticulture sites that require specialised skills or in-depth knowledge of the site operations on a day-to-day basis; for example, botanists in herbariums, or horticulturists in botanic gardens. The need for these professional and/or skilled services on a daily basis means that subcontracting specialised services is more expensive than having in-house staff. Examples of publicly funded and managed sites are wildlife parks, nature parks, zoos, herbariums, botanical gardens and other special plant displays; also sites that are distant from city centres and require permanent staff, such as natural and national parks.  

  • Mixed management: The council or public authority responsible for the site offers some of the site or some services associated with its running or maintenance as leases for private management. This management option is becoming more common, as public services are increasingly constrained budget-wise; hence it is especially seen in poorly performing and financially constrained facilities. Examples of mixed management sites are landscaping and maintenance of roadside plantings and traffic islands, and the construction and maintenance of gardens, parks and other landscaped facilities around municipal buildings.   

    A drawback of mixed management is that private companies will only manage the site if they can make significant profits, which can mean that in cases where the facility is open to the public for a fee, the low income end of the population are not able to access the facilities.
    An advantage is that in areas where facilities cannot be built and operated through public funding, the mixed management option allows the existence of the facility.

  • Private management. This is the most common case when the facility is already privately owned. They can do the management themselves, as in a nursery, or they can subcontract other private companies, as in a private hospital that subcontracts the maintenance of its gardens to a gardening company. There are companies that specialise in the maintenance of indoor plant displays, or in providing on a permanent basis flower displays to lawyers’ offices, banks, hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses.  

    The following excerpt from a contract is an example of public–private mixed management, where a council has outsourced some of the maintenance services of some horticultural amenity sites in the shire to a private gardening company.

Horticultural Parks and Recreation Facilities

Parks departments may have responsible for many different types of facilities, including:

  • Formal park areas  
  • Sporting facilities including pools, playing fields and sports complexes
  • Gardens and indoor plants for public buildings e.g. municipal buildings, libraries
  • Roadside reserves, Traffic junctions, islands and roundabouts, etc
  • Any other public land

Staff or contractors may be responsible for work such as:

  • Sports Ground Maintenance
  • Tree Care (arboriculture)
  • Playground management
  • Pruning to recognised horticultural standards, depending on species
  • Keeping displays reasonably weed free (mainly by cultural means, limited use of herbicides)
  • Pruning away from windows, paths, pavements and clear traffic sight lines
  • Returning composted material/chippings to beds
  • Mulching garden beds annually
  • Controlling pests and diseases on roses
  • Removing litter when on a routine maintenance visit
  • Arranging the replacement and replanting of landscaping
  • Watering turf and plantings including operation of irrigation systems

Leisure Services (Local Government) Departments are responsible for:

  • Managing use of facilities including bookings for events
  • Conducting or managing leisure activities/services
  • Preparation of facilities for use
  • Provision of new schemes
  • Maintaining toilets
  • Catering services
  • Health, safety and security measures

Where Can This Advanced Diploma Take Me?

With such a breadth and depth of knowledge, and the ability to choose electives that are relevant to you and your career goals, this qualification has the potential to take your career wherever you want it to go. In addition, the research projects and workshops will give you the opportunity to investigate new areas of interest, while the industry seminar component will boost your professional network. This course provides the knowledge, practical experiences and connections to establish your new career in Parks and Recreation, or boost your existing career to new heights.
Other courses that may be of interest are listed below. Click on any of these to go to an outline of that course.
Our academic staff have written a wide range of reference books, many specifically designed to fit the needs of our students. Click on any of the following titles to visit our online book store and see details on that book.

Marine Animals

Animal Health


What to Plant

Meet some of our academics

Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC
Dr Robert BrowneZoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.
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.
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

Check out our eBooks

Landscaping with Australian PlantsLandscaping with Australian Plants gives you a new perspective on how to use Australian Plants when designing a garden. This ebook is perfect for gardening students, landscapers and keen gardeners.
Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook is a complementary text for event management students or professionals working in the field. The ebook goes through the considerations and elements of an event and what needs to be organised when an event is in the planning stage.
Garden Design Part 1This stunning full colour Garden Design ebook is full of useful tips, information and inspiration. It contains around 300 colour illustrations! It is comprised of three parts: Design, How a Garden Functions, and Aesthetics (making it look good). Let your inner designer out (outside). A great introductory text for garden designers. 299 high quality inspirational colour photos. 106 pages
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