Having spent twenty years working in accounting, the world of horticulture couldn’t seem further for Wellington’s Jane Boydon. Fuelled by a passion for her own home garden and a hunger to improve her horticultural knowledge, Jane decided to take the leap and enrol in Open Polytechnic’s National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3).
Diverse and flexible study
Jane made the decision to study by distance with Open Polytechnic because its flexibility enabled her to continue to work full-time as an accountant while completing her studies when and where it suited her. She wouldn’t need to take any time off of work and could study in the evenings, on weekends and even during her commute on the train to and from work.
In addition to the flexibility distance study offered, Jane was drawn to Open Polytechnic due to the unique format of their National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) qualification. What Jane enjoyed most was the option of being able to attend monthly workshops with her peers if she wanted to.
“Meeting up with the group every month and going through the next unit was an excellent way not only of keeping on track in terms of the course, but also of sharing and exchanging ideas with each other,” says Jane. She also enjoyed how varied the units were and how she was able to learn everything from weather systems through to revegetation areas.
Invaluable support and materials
Jane says the study materials provided by Open Polytechnic were invaluable, and she continues to reference them today even after she’s completed her Level 3 studies. Her tutors were always on hand by freephone and email if she needed help. “If I ever had any queries as I was completing the assessments, the tutors were always excellent at replying promptly,” says Jane.
Given how successful Jane was in completing her Level 3 qualification, she has recently been awarded a scholarship from the National Fuchsia Society of New Zealand towards the costs of studying the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4). “It is a fabulous opportunity and I feel very lucky to have been offered the scholarship,” says Jane.
In terms of her career in horticulture, Jane still considers herself to be somewhat of a new comer. She first entered the professional world of horticulture in June 2015, when she started doing volunteer gardening work at the Wellington Botanic Garden where she was then offered a short-term contract to carry out general gardening duties.
“Working as part of that team provided me with varied and valuable skills and was a rewarding role,” says Jane. In July 2016, Jane was offered the role of Trainee Gardener at Aspen Landscapes as part of their Garden Care Team where she works on the maintenance of gardens for both residential and commercial customers. “There is certainly a lot to learn as each garden is different however I am really loving the challenge.”
Room to grow
In addition to creating and tending to beautiful gardens and landscapes, Jane enjoys photography, running and tramping in her spare time. Although she has already embarked on her exciting new horticulture career, Jane feels as though there is still more for her to learn which is why she will be embarking on her National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) qualification in the near future.
“The course has been a big investment in time, however I have really enjoyed it and it is amazing how you do find the time if it’s something you’re really passionate about. If I had not decided to do this course, I certainly would not be pursing my horticulture career, which would be something I would always look back on and wonder, if only…”
“ If I ever had any queries as I was completing the assessments, the tutors were always excellent at replying promptly.”