We are a community-based training program for horticulture with the mission to advance social inclusion, personal fulfilment, and wellbeing. We work hard to establish a learning atmosphere for our students that is encouraging, nurturing, inclusive, enjoyable, and meaningful.
During the Horticulture course learns work towards a QQI Level 4 Major Award in Horticulture in the beautiful walled gardens of Ardfoyle Convent, Ballintemple. We maximise the potential of individual learner plans so some learners can receive extra literacy support while others work towards an additional RHS qualification. We partake in consensus decision making as much as possible and feedback is continually requested and acted upon. As a result of this approach, our learners feel ownership of their learning which increases their feelings of empowerment and self-efficacy. It also means that the course has developed over the past five years to a point where we are facilitating a leaner-informed curriculum design.
Our Horticulture course is funded by the Cork Training Centre so we provide a training allowance, PPE and industry certification for gaining employment in the horticulture sector. Each learner participates in a two-week work placement and leaves with a professional CV ready to apply for jobs. Many choose to progress to Level 5 in CSN or Kinsale College. We grow all our vegetables organically and were awarded the Cork Food Policy Council Certificate of Excellence. We work with a variety of local community groups facilitating workshops and undertaking landscaping projects. This means that each year provides a unique experience for both learners and staff. The course is practical in its approach to learning with a focus on project-based and experiential learning.
The social and therapeutic benefits of learning horticulture are fully integrated into our curriculum design to promote learner wellbeing. Our curriculum supports our learners to build positive peer-learning relationships, to connect to place through landscape photography, to develop a love of learning by understanding how adults learn, to enjoy the physical benefits of project-based horticulture training and to give back through various community planting projects and events.