National Certificate in Horticulture Level 3, Level 4 and Level 4 A

We offer 'National Certificate in Horticulture(NCH)' at three levels which are fully approved by and accredited to NZQA (New Zealand Qualification Authority). These courses are moderated by the Primary ITO, the National Standards setting body in agriculture/horticulture training in the country. The courses are:

NCH 3 (One year): is suitable for young students/school leavers

NCH 4 ( One Year) is suitable for grown up and on-shore international students who want to change their career path  

NCH 4 Advanced ( Two academic year): is suitable for overseas students  or on-shore students who want to change over before completing their studies in other discplines. 

Recognising the emerging need for trained horticultural staff in the country on the one hand and our in-house capability to provide hands-on practical and high quality training on the other hand, we are offering teaching/training in Horticulture production leading to National Certificate in Horticulture Level 4 (Advanced). This qualification is in transition and will shortly be restructured as the New Zealand Diploma in Horticulture Level 5. Students will be able to transfer their achievements to this new qualification.



The study programme will be split in to four semesters, each semester running over 20 weeks. Adequate breaks will be allowed for students and teachers to complete any pending work and prepare for the following semester. The teaching curriculum will start with developing basic understanding of the growing systems and gradually move to the practical aspects and complex issues as students progress to the higher stages.

While students work through this programme they will also achieve two other national qualifications: the National Certificate in Horticulture Level 3 at the end of the first year and the National Certificate in Horticulture Level 4 at the end of the third semester.

Course Content

The course material consists of ‘Unit standards’ of different credit value (2-20 credits) at levels (2 or 3 or 4). These units will be grouped together in a logical manner and a certain number of units will be delivered in each semester on the following lines

  • Orientation day to introduce NZ way of life and workplace ethics and practices, civic facilities availability, need for NZ driving licence etc
  • Basic knowledge about plants and planting materials (seed, Vegetative)
  • Growing substrates: soils, potting mixes, rock wool, hydroponics etc.
  • Basics of plant growing and plant care
  • Growing environment, factors affecting plant growth, and irrigation
  • Introduction to common plant pests (diseases, insects, weeds, etc.)
  • Agrichemicals, their handling and application, weed control
  • Growsafe and chemical handler certification: to be outsourced
  • Propagate plants from seed, cuttings, grafting and budding
  • Produce seedlings for a range of crops spread over different seasons and growing environments
  • Learn to service, maintain and operate a specialised piece of machinery
  • Manage a greenhouse crop from planting to harvesting, grade, pack and despatch produce and collect feed back
  • General management including writing work instructions, keeping computer based records and compiling information etc.
  • Enterprise report summarising all information gained on location, environment, physical, infrastructure, operations, and technical aspects.

Post-Study Pathways

Further Study

The students can progress to higher studies like National Certificate in Horticulture L5 (Operations), NCH L5 ( Technical) and then NCH L6. The details of these qualifications are being finalised by Primary ITO

Job Opportunities

The certificate holders will be eligible for jobs in the fields of Vegetable production (Greenhouse and open-field), nursery production and plant propagation, cut flower production, organics, nursery retailing and Garden centres, parks and reserves, conservation and green keeping, indoor plant hire, landscape maintenance, re-vegetation and council work.



The teaching will involve a high component of practical learning. It is anticipated that most of the students will be working for 20 hours/week in horticultural enterprises. Apprenticeship can also be arranged if required. In summary, at the completion of their course, the trainees will have theoretical background, practical skills and are fully prepared to take up different operational jobs in the horticulture industry.