Advanced Certificate in Horticultural Management

Course CodeVHT085
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Improve your Career Opportunities by Studying Management in Horticulture

There is a lot more to horticulture than just growing plants - good managers with a sound nderstanding of managemennt techniques have the best opportunity to advance in this industry. Learn from those that have worked in the industry at all levels.


Good Management Makes All The Difference

Management is the process of completing tasks efficiently with and through other people. It is about control and achieving better results by exercising control. Many aspects of nursery management have little to do with horticulture. Both wholesale and retail nurseries are often successfully managed by people with backgrounds in a variety of industries.

Managers must understand and appreciate their own role as being the person who controls what happens, not the person who actually does the work.  A manager who spends a lot of time potting up, weeding plants or talking with customers may find that too little time is being spent managing the nursery, resulting in a loss of control.  In a small nursery, however, where these jobs must be part of his or her routine, a delicate balance between the various tasks must be maintained.

Good management only occurs when the manager is well informed; hence the first task for any manager is to get to know the organisation for which they are responsible.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Horticultural Management.
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Biophilic Landscaping BHT343
 Operational Business Management I (Horticulture) BHT326
 Operational Business Management II (Horticulture) BHT327
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 20 modules.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Mechanics BSS102
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT234
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT235
 Garden Centre Management BHT213
 Horticultural Research B BHT241
 Hydroponic Management - Hydroponics II BHT213
 Irrigation - Gardens BHT210
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Project Management BBS201
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
 Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens BHT243
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Reforestation) BHT205
 Wholesale Nursery Management BHT212
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Horticultural Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Business Techniques

Operational Flow Charts
To better understand the procedures involved in nursery production it is helpful to produce an operational flow chart which outlines the various steps undertaken in each of the four stages of production (propagation, transplanting, growing on, and marketing). Flow charts can assist in many facets of nursery management including production efficiency, quality control, budgets and production timelines. Flow charts can also assist staff in routine management and maintenance procedures.

Finding and then retaining good staff can be a problem for any nursery.  Many nurseries never go looking for staff, relying instead upon people who come to them looking for work. Staff can be recruited via the following channels:

  • Universities and colleges - many horticultural courses require students to undertake several weeks of industry work placement, so nursery managers may be able to utilise such students as employees.
  •  Advertising - poor advertising for positions can cause enormous problems. For example, advertising with Employment Services is unlikely to result in skilled staff applying for a position. Trade magazines, however, are invaluable in that they will reach qualified and experienced people. Weekend newspapers will return a much wider variety of people.
  • Professional associations - often such associations are aware of members who are between jobs or looking to move to a new job. They may also be willing to notify members through association newsletters of employment opportunities.

From the point of view of any organisation, the success of the worker depends upon:

  • Their skill in the job assigned. 
  • Their ability to adjust to the organisation's hierarchy (i.e. fit into their place among superiors, subordinates and equals).
  • Their ability to adjust to variations, or lack of variations in the work situation.

The above particulars should be determined through an interview. Obviously, the interviewer can only ask about hypothetical situations, and it is not possible to reproduce real emotional stresses which could occur in the workplace (although different types of stresses can occur in an interview).

Three rules should be followed when interviewing:

  • Keep the appointment time 
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Make applicants feel at ease 

An interview is different to a conversation.  The interviewer’s task is to elicit sufficient information from the interviewee, in order to make required ratings. In order to ensure information elicited is appropriate and fair, the interview needs to be conducted for different people in a uniform and unbiased manner. This requires a schedule and a degree of structure.

The interview schedule may consist of specific questions to be asked, and often a range of sub questions which may be asked, depending on answers received for the main questions. The interviewee should be allowed to reply freely to questions.
The following are suggested questions to be discussed during an interview:

  • Reactions to those in authority. How would the person react to their superiors? 
  • Reactions to peers. How would they react to others working at their own level? 
  • Reactions to subordinates. Would they be capable of maintaining a correct boss/worker relationship? 
  • Reactions to one’s self. Would they be able to maintain a decision they made? In other words, would they develop uncertainties and waiver about decisions, or stand firm? 
  • Reactions to work conditions. Would they accept and follow written or established procedures? Are the jobs or tasks appropriate to the person’s personality?

Interviewing can be time consuming and costly. In large organisations three interviews often take place:

  • Preliminary meeting to weed out unqualified applicants.
  • Employment office interview to select several candidates for the position.
  • Final interview by the prospective supervisor.

In smaller nurseries time can be saved by posting a job application form or questionnaire for applicants to fill out. This can allow many of the applicants to be weeded out without needing to go to the trouble of preliminary interviews. Remember though that the applicants are people in the industry, and you should try to leave them with a positive impression of your business. Be courteous and encouraging in your replies, even when informing applicants that they were unsuccessful.

Staff induction/orientation  

Responsibilities for all employees should be clearly defined and in writing. A copy of an employee's job description should be given to each employee when they commence work. It is important for a manager to read through the job description, point by point with the employee to clarify and reinforce their understanding of what is expected. Managers should evaluate each person's responsibilities on a regular basis and make adjustments where necessary. Ask the employee for feedback and encourage them to make any suggestions they feel will make his or her work more efficient or enjoyable.

If there are changes to what is expected from an employee, be sure to inform the person concerned.  The employee should be made aware that such adjustments to their job description can be made before they commence work.


Who Will Benefit From This Course?

For those already working in the horticulture industry. If you are looking to expand your horticultural career and take up a coveted management position now or into the future you need to expand your knowledge. This course will help you on that ladder to success.