Course Outline:

This course is geared for students who want to be involved in the horticulture industry, varying in scale from intensive plant fruit and vegetable cultivation to providing organic fruit and vegetables for the family. Students are taught all aspects of the business end of the Horticulture Industry. The science, technology and business involved in plant cultivation is covered.

  • Communications 6N1950
  • Tree and Shrub Management 6N3624
  • Sustainable Horticulture 6N3626
  • Entrepreneurship 6N1941
  • Organic Crop Production 6N3621
  • Market Gardening 6N3614
  • Business Management/Entrepreneurship 6N4310

Additional Activities

  • Guest Lectures on from local producers
  • Participation in the Westport Edible Landscape Scheme
  • Day trips to Organic Centres
  • Grafting and Budding Workshops
  • Involvement with Westport Tidy Towns
  • International Horticulture Trip


Successful completion of this course will result in a QQI Level 6 Certificate in Horticulture, 6M4334.

Course Duration:

This is a one year, full time course, from September to May.

Entry Requirements

A Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied or equivalent is required, although exceptions are given to mature students who are over 23 years of age.

Entry to this course is subject to interview.


‘The Compound’ as it is affectionately referred to by the students, is organically certified by IOFGA and provides an ideal working environment for learning. With irrigation, composting units, fruiting areas and indoor crop production, it offers the students an enhanced training resource on individual systems.  It also provides experience on open field systems, garden nursery propagation systems, and crop rotations.  All skills required from bringing the produce from seed to shelf are fully undertaken on a variety of crops from herbs, salad crops, tomatoes, potatoes, maize and garlic during the duration of the course.


There are no fees to study this course.

Course Progression

Students may opt to continue their education in Institutes of Technology through the Higher Education Links Scheme, or seek employment directly in the Horticulture Industry.  Examples of progression courses include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Horticulture – HETAC Level 7, Kildalton College & National Botanic Gardens
  • Bachelor of Science in Horticulture Honours Degree – HETAC Level 8, Dublin City University
  • BSc in Land Management in Agriculture/Forestry/Horticulture – HETAC Level 8, Waterford Institute of Technology

Career Opportunities

  • Vegetable & Crop Production Management
  • Tree Surgery and Arboriculture
  • Landscape Construction and Design
  • Entrepreneur Opportunities
  • Parks and  Gardens Supervisor
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Golf & Sports Turf Management
  • Floristry and Floriculture
  • Garden Centre Management

Student Testimonial


I started the Level 6 Horticulture course after a time away from education. The course content is up to date and relevant and deals with changes in horticulture practices. This course is helping me to plan and prepare for a career in sustainable horticulture.



Market Gardening 6N3614

This Programme Module aims to provide the learner with:

  • The knowledge of current regulations relating to fruit and vegetable production
  • Understanding of Quality Assurance schemes and Codes of Practice relevant to the fresh produce supply chain
  • The skills and competence to enable the learner to design a crop schedule for a range of crops
  • The skills to produce plants and manage the production of a broad range of fruit and vegetable crops.

Assessment Criteria:
Learner Record 40%, Assignment 30%, Examination 30%

Organic Crop Production 6N3621

This programme module aims to provide the learner with:

  • The knowledge of how to manage an organic enterprise – manage organic certification, the market and customer expectations
  • The skills to devise effective crop production and work schedules
  • The skills to manage rotations of organic fruit, vegetable and herb crops at garden and field scale or protected crops
  • The competence to manage soil, pests and diseases
  • Managing efficient routes to market

Assessment Criteria:
Learner Record 40%, Examination-Theory, 30% Assignment 30%

Entrepreneurship 6N1941

This programme module aims to equip the learner with:

  • The knowledge relating to the evolution of the principles of business and social entrepreneurship and their application globally
  • The skills to identify innovative opportunities and to explore the mind-set of an entrepreneur
  • The competence to assess the social and technical skills, values and attributes required of an entrepreneur
  • To assist the learner in developing a business plan, including planning for resources, risk management, mitigation and entrepreneurial responses to problems which might arise
  • To help the learner to engage in entrepreneurial work, to include implementing and monitoring innovative strategies and solutions while working on a project or a skills demonstration

Assessment Criteria:
Project 50%, Skills Demonstration 50%

Sustainable Horticulture 6N3626

This programme module aims to provide the learner with:

  • Knowledge of the concepts of sustainable horticulture, biodiversity and ecology
  • Knowledge of related EU and Irish legislation
  • The skills to assess the various government and local agencies which support sustainable horticulture
  • The competence to implement a variety of sustainable techniques and practices

Assessment Criteria:
Project 40%, Assignment 30%, Examination 30%

Tree and Shrub Management 6N3624

This programme module aims to equip the learner with:

  • The knowledge required to choose and manage appropriate tree and shrub species in an urban landscape scheme
  • The skills to research relevant legislation and best practice relating to those trees and shrubs
  • The skills and expertise to apply this knowledge in order to design urban development sites
  • The competence to carry out a range of planting and maintenance skills

Assessment Criteria:
Examination 40%, Assignment 30%, Skills Demonstration 30%


Students studying Communications Level 6 will do the following:

  • Critique current issues in communications and information technology, to include digital and mobile technology, the internet, and the policies and principles relevant to a vocational area.
  • Evaluate in practical terms the elements of legislation that must be observed in a personal and or work context, to include health, safety and welfare at work and communications related legislation, and the responsibilities that apply when working in a supervisory capacity.
  • Assess the impact of non-verbal communication and of the physical environment in everyday human interaction.
  • Participate in formal and informal working groups, to include leading or facilitating, notetaking, summarising discussion, agreeing outcomes and action points.
  • Use drafting, editing and proofreading skills and the correct conventions of language usage including spelling, punctuation and syntax to produce formal written communications relevant to a particular vocational area, to include reports, correspondence, faxes, memos, minutes.
  • Demonstrate vocal and interactive skills in personal and professional contexts, including an oral presentation, discussion, debate, meeting, interview and or job seeking skills and for the purposes of persuading, informing or advocating.

Assessment Criteria:
Collection of Work – 50%, Skills Demonstration – 50%

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