Local
Training Initiative

We provide a holistic adult learning experience in a caring and supportive environment.

Horticulture Local Training Initiative

– “…fascinating…intriguing…positive in almost every meaning of the word…it’s given me something to look forward to”.

– “The course is a valuable one for me, it has helped me cope in foggy days, not every day will be fog free but 90% of the time I show up to the course that fog clears”

Our Horticulture LTI (Local Training Initiative) aims to provide a holistic adult learning experience in a caring and supportive environment. We are a community-based horticulture training programme aiming to promote social inclusion, personal fulfilment, improved wellbeing and progression. We strive to maintain a learning environment that is positive, nurturing, inclusive, fun and meaningful for our leaners.

Over the course of ten months our learners 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.

We are 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. We won the AONTAS Star Award 2017 in recognition of our curriculum design for promoting Learner Wellbeing.

– “Good things in this course come in leaps and bounds…the practicality of the course, we are never tied down in one area as we have multiple projects going on at once…it’s not like the standardized learning you get in most places, our teachers devise ways for when we are doing theory that makes it interesting and gets everyone included in hot debates. The busy schedule is also a bonus as we never get bored, there is always a challenge to face daily which only helps us to grow as humans”.

– “I have not been involved for 3 years but this course has connected me back to the outdoors, life, peace, space, spirituality”

If you would like to apply for a place on the course or arrange a visit then please contact Finola McCarthy on fmccarthy@bessborough.ie

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