A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Current course opportunities

General information about our Level 1 and Level 2 horticulture courses

Level 2 introduction and assessment sessions

We are pleased to let you know that we are holding two Level 2 introduction and assessment sessions in June. You only need to attend one session, and both sessions will cover all the Level 2 courses that we will be running.

These sessions will run from: 6pm – 8pm on Friday 14 June and 6pm – 8pm on Wednesday 19 June at our growing site, Hawkwood, in Chingford.

You must attend one of these sessions to apply for a place on one of our Level 2 courses starting in the autumn term (September/October 2024).

These courses are often oversubscribed, so attendance at a session is not a guarantee of a place, but does mean you will be considered for a place. Priority for places will go to those who attend one of these two sessions.

If you have completed a Level 1 horticulture, but not with OrganicLea, please bring your certificate with you as proof of that. We will take a copy during the evening. Priority is given to those who have gained a Level 1 horticulture qualification, though you can still apply if you have significant horticulture knowledge and experience.

During the evening we will run through each course, how we select learners, fees and the timeline for offering places. You will be asked to complete the assessment and enrolment form. There will also be an opportunity to ask general questions and the chance to talk to a tutor if you have specific questions.

Tea and coffee will be available.

Please register for one of the sessions by following this link: https://buytickets.at/organiclea/1253592

Level 1 Horticulture Courses

We currently run one Level 1 horticulture course. If you are interested please contact courses@organiclea.org.uk to register your interest. We will be in touch when recruitment begins. We run these courses throughout the year with new courses starting each term. When we have dates for the next courses we post them on this page.

Level 1 Practical Horticulture Skills Award (City and Guilds)

This course is for those who want to gain basic horticulture skills. It is designed to build basic and technical skills for anyone who is thinking about working as a gardener or who wants to enhance food production knowledge for the home environment. You will be studying in our community market garden environment with a blend of classroom guided learning and practical tasks to practice techniques and seek guidance when needed. Topics covered include understanding the basics of soil science –soil types, structure, pH and nutrients, organic matter and using it to improve soil, making compost and other fertility products, getting the best out of your soil, basic cultivation techniques; and planting considerations including the needs of different food crops, sowing seeds all year round and basic sowing techniques to support successful propagation.

Level 2 City and Guilds Horticulture Courses

We run three different Level 2 horticulture courses. If you are interested please contact courses@organiclea.org.uk to register your interest. We will be in touch when recruitment begins each summer. All courses start in the autumn each year, and one is repeated in the spring. A City & Guilds Level 1 horticulture qualification or equivalent experience is considered an essential entry requirement for a Level 2 course. Volunteering at OrganicLea will provide you with relevant experience to lead into one of these courses. Our Level 2 courses are often oversubscribed so do consider volunteering whilst you wait for recruitment to begin. An Initial Assessment is required as part of your application.

Work Based Horticulture Skills, Level 2 Certificate (City and Guilds)

Dates: This course runs twice a year from September– March and March – July, one day a week, 9am – 5pm (usually Wednesdays, with a month of Tuesdays when you join our Harvest Team).

The aim of this course is to provide a work-related, competence-based qualification in Work Based Horticulture. It is aimed at people who are eligible for funded places as this course will allow you to develop, understand and practise the skills required for employment and/or career progression in the horticulture sector. The course covers monitoring and maintaining health and safety, establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, preparing ground for seeding and planting, carry out harvesting operations, propagate plants from seed and establishing crops or plants in growing medium. For each unit, there will be a tutorial, plus additional portfolio support and practical assessment from the tutor, and workplace supervision and guidance from the tutor and other members of the Hawkwood Production team.

Practical Horticulture Skills, Level 2 Certificate (City and Guilds)

Dates: October– May, one morning a week, 10.30am – 1.30pm

This course is delivered in 26 sessions over 37 weeks. This ‘practice’ based course equips the production horticulturalist with the essential know-how and techniques to assess, prepare and maintain gardens at a range of scales. Study units include: prepare for planting; techniques for plant care; training and pruning in fruit production; stem cutting propagation; pedestrian controlled rotary cultivation; and identifying plants by botanical names. You will be assessed at the Hawkwood site during course hours and this includes practical assessment gardening tasks and accompanying written worksheets. Home study will support your gardening practice and works

Note: A City & Guilds Level 1 horticulture qualification or equivalent experience are considered essential entry requirements for this Level 2 course. An Initial Assessment will required before enrollment can take place.


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