Parks & Gardens Project

Menu: Click across the green arrows to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

Case for change

Job roles in parks and gardens are important for maintaining and managing public green spaces for the benefit of all. The AHC Training Package, which contains these skills standards, is one of the largest, most complex and diverse training packages in the Australian System. Given how vital it is that these skills are regularly reviewed and updated, this project continues the full review of the AHC Training Package outlined in the Skills Forecast and Program of Works 2019 – 2022.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the Annual Update IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Skills Impact and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation & Land Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see page 63)

Project Plan

Australian parks and gardens require skillful maintenance and management to remain pleasant spaces for recreation and leisure. Many are home to native and unique plant species, animals and historic structures. They hold cultural and social importance and are visited by thousands of locals and tourists every year. The diversity, beauty and sustainability of these parks and gardens is managed and maintained by a skilled workforce of grounds keepers and gardeners.

Expertise in horticultural work is a key requirement to perform this work, including pruning, planting and transplanting, along with plant and seed knowledge, including local native species knowledge. So too are the skills and knowledge to complement other industry professionals who may be called in to provide specific services. In urban parks and gardens this could mean working alongside arborists, turf specialists and irrigators to manage trees and grasses and make sure plants are appropriately cared for. In national or state parks, this could mean sharing management of the space with conservation and land management professionals, so that facilities and safety measures are in place for the public. This sector also involves the maintenance of cemeteries, working alongside other professionals in these spaces.

In recent times the skills requirements of jobs in the sector have been changing as industry focuses on more sustainable practices to promote biodiversity, adapt to climate change, and acknowledge the cultural significance of these spaces. Skills are needed for reusing resources, planting native species, and reducing herbicide and chemical use, among other sustainable techniques. It is important that the skills standards that support roles in parks and gardens are up to date so that they reflect current terminology, equipment and practices, supporting the longevity of these spaces for public use.

Those with experience in parks and gardens are invited to participate in the review and update of current qualifications, skill sets and units in the sector so that they are accurate, up to date, and promote clear career pathways.

A project in landscaping is taking place at the same time as this project. There is overlap in some of the foundational skills for these projects, so you may also like to contribute to that project. Read more about the Landscaping Project here.

Project Scope

Four qualifications and 20 units of competency in parks and gardens will be reviewed and updated to better reflect current skills needs for this sector and strengthen career pathways. There is scope to develop some skill sets and units for skills standards not already captured.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Grounds keeper
  • Gardener
  • Green keeper
  • Grounds person
  • Council workers

 

Project Team
Rebecca FordIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impactrebecca@skillsimpact.com.au
Michelle Ingley-SmithIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impactmichelle@skillsimpact.com.au
Peter MillerIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

Timeline

September 2020
Initial scoping

October 2020
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

Nov-Dec 2020
Drafts available for broad consultation

Mar-Apr 2021
Validation of final drafts

May 2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

May-July 2021
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

Aug-Sept 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Those with experience working in parks and gardens and others with knowledge in this field who are able to describe the skills and qualifications needed for this industry are invited to engage with this project.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets, and units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact welcomes your input and assistance.

The skills standards will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft skills standards are made available in Nov-Dec 2020, and again for validation of final drafts in Mar-Apr 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, Rebecca Ford on 0408 901 209 or at rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au.

N.B. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft qualifications, skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

Australian parks and gardens are enjoyed by thousands of people every year and are home to native and unique species, animals as well as historic structures. The diversity, beauty and sustainability of these parks and gardens is managed and maintained by a skilled workforce of grounds keepers and gardeners. In recent times the skills requirements of job roles in the parks and gardens sector have been changing as industry focuses on more sustainable practices to promote biodiversity, adapt to climate change, and acknowledge the cultural significance of these spaces. Skills are needed for reusing resources, planting native species, and reducing herbicide and chemical use, among other sustainable techniques. Expertise in horticultural work is a key requirement to perform this work, as well as the skills and knowledge to complement other industry professionals who may be called in to provide specific services.

Existing qualifications and units of competency have been reviewed in consultation with Subject Matter Experts, following a Workforce Functional Analysis process in October 2020, to identify the current job roles within the industry and any gaps in the skills standards. The qualifications and units are being revised to reflect current terminology, equipment and practices, including sustainable use of materials and workplace health and safety requirements.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence mid to late November 2020, when draft qualifications and units will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Drafts Available

People in Australia are fortunate to have access to many diverse Australian parks and gardens for recreation and leisure. The maintenance and management of these culturally and socially significant spaces is important, as they are visited by thousands of people every year and are home to native and unique species, animals as well as historic structures. Expertise in horticultural work is a key requirement to perform this work, including pruning, planting and transplanting, along with plant and seed knowledge, including local native species knowledge. So too are the skills and knowledge to complement other industry professionals who may be called in to provide specific services. In recent times the skills requirements of jobs in the sector have been changing as industry focuses on more sustainable practices to promote biodiversity, adapt to climate change, and acknowledge the cultural significance of these spaces. Skills are needed for reusing resources, planting native species, and reducing herbicide and chemical use, among other sustainable techniques.

Industry experts have been consulted to review the qualifications and skills standards that support job roles in parks and gardens. As a result, they have been revised to reflect current terminology, equipment and practices, including sustainable use of materials and workplace health and safety requirements.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft qualifications and units that were made available from 2 December 2020 – 17 January 2021. Feedback was sought on whether the draft documents reflect the current skills standards and practices of industry, and whether job functions are accurately described.

During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, by phone and email. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

Feedback will inform the work on the final drafts which will be available for industry validation soon. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

Thank you also to those who provided advice and feedback about qualifications and units with low enrolments via the surveys made available from 15 March – 20 April 2021. More information about this process can be found below.

A project in landscaping is taking place at the same time as this project. There is overlap in some of the foundational skills for these projects, so you may also like to contribute to that project. Read more about the Landscaping Project here.

Qualifications

Draft qualifications have been revised to better reflect the scope of job roles within industry and current work practices.

Click here to download a summary of technical changes made to the qualifications.

Qualification code and nameProposed changes Link to view and comment
AHC2XX21 Certificate II in Parks and GardensQualification description updated, amended packaging rules, decreased core units by 1 unit, changed core units, added and updated elective unitsView qualification
AHC3XX21 Certificate III in Parks and GardensQualification description updated, amended packaging rules, added 7 core units to core unit list, added and updated elective unitsView qualification

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Prior to the AISC consideration of low enrolment qualifications and skills standards, subject matter experts (SMEs) for this project identified that there have been low enrolments in the Certificate IV in Parks and Gardens and Diploma of Parks and Gardens Management. The SMEs considered this issue and suggested that the skills contained within the Certificate IV and Diploma would have more opportunities to be taught if they were part of the horticultural suite of qualifications. Feedback from these experts is that the majority of training delivery and assessment in higher level parks and gardens units has occurred within the horticulture suite of qualifications. The reason for this is because there is a greater choice of registered training organisations (RTOs) with these higher level horticulture qualifications on their scope of registration. It is more common for employees at supervisor or management level in the parks and gardens industry to undertake a horticulture Certificate IV or Diploma qualification than a parks and gardens Certificate IV or Diploma qualification. The subject matter experts have recommended that the horticulture suite of qualifications be the subject of a future review, which should include representation from the parks and gardens industry.

Feedback from the broader industry was sought on whether the contents of the Certificate IV and Diploma would be supported by being moved to the horticultural suite of qualifications and whether or not these two higher level qualifications should be removed but the contents retained as part of the horticultural qualifications.

Feedback was collected via a questionnaire. Responses to the questions will be considered by the Subject Matter Expert Working Group and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation & Land Management Industry Reference Committee.

AHC40516 Certificate IV in Parks and GardensView qualification on training.gov.au
AHC50716 Diploma of Parks and Gardens ManagementView qualification on training.gov.au

Units of Competency

Minor changes have been made to the following units. These changes include minor changes to application, Elements and Performance criteria. Addition of frequency to Performance Evidence with minor edits to Performance Evidence and Knowledge Evidence wording/lists and Assessment Conditions for clarity.

Click here to download a summary of technical changes made to the units.

AHCPGD101 Support gardening workView unit
AHCPGD205 Prepare a grave siteView unit
AHCPGD206 Conduct visual inspection of park facilitiesView unit
AHCPGD301 Implement a plant establishment programView unit
AHCPGD303 Perform specialist amenity pruningView unit
AHCPGD304 Implement a landscape maintenance programView unit
AHCPGD305 Conduct operational inspection of park facilitiesView unit
AHCPGD306 Implement a maintenance program for an aquatic environmentView unit
AHCPGD401 Design plant displaysView unit
AHCPGD402 Plan a plant establishment programView uni
AHCPGD501 Manage plant cultural practicesView unit
AHCPGD502 Plan the restoration of parks and gardensView unit
AHCPGD504 Develop and implement a streetscape management planView unit
AHCPGD505 Conduct comprehensive inspection of park facilitiesView unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Major changes have been made to the following units. These changes include code change, major changes to Performance Criteria, renumbered, changed, deleted and/or added new Performance Evidence and Knowledge Evidence and specific conditions provided within the Assessment Conditions.

Click here to download a summary of technical changes made to the units.

AHCPGD2XX Plant trees and shrubsView unit
AHCPGD2XX Prepare and maintain plant displaysView unit
AHCPGD2XX Prune shrubs and small treesView unit
AHCPGD2XX Transplant shrubs and small treesView unit
AHCPGD3XX Plan and maintain plant displaysView unit
AHCPGD5XX Manage parks and reservesView unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

 

Qualification and Units with Low Enrolments

A priority for Skills Ministers in 2021 is to ensure employers’ and learners’ needs can be met through the VET system by reducing the complexity of the training system and improving accessibility of training. One of the key considerations is whether there is a need for formal training of skills through the VET system to achieve competency in the job role.

Enrolment numbers are a key piece of evidence to indicate the need for formal VET training. There may be a number of explanations for low enrolment numbers in a unit of competency or qualification, and the AISC are asking industry to confirm whether low enrolment numbers are an indication of lack of industry need, or whether there may be reasons for keeping the relevant skill in the formal training system in spite of low enrolment numbers.

Initially, a cut-off point for specific review of units has been set at fewer than 42 enrolments in each of the last three years.

Several of the units and qualifications being reviewed as part of this project have been identified as meeting this criteria between 2015 – 2019.

The AISC will consider industry viewpoints for maintaining these, backed up by evidence of future enrolments as reasons for them to be retained.

To help guide the AISC decision, the Industry Reference Committee needs to provide information around the following factors:

  • Whether units proposed for retention are core to qualifications being retained?
  • Are there linkages with industrial and legislative arrangements?
  • Are enrolments expected to increase in the near future? And if so, why?
  • Is there employment growth in the skills outlined in the unit/qualifications? And if so, why?
  • Is there another specialist requirement to keep the unit/qualification?

Advice and feedback was invited on these questions from 15 March – 20 April 2021.

Thank you to those who responded. Your feedback will be considered by the Subject Matter Expert Working Group and the Industry Reference Committee and will assist these groups with the advice they provide to the AISC.

If these products are updated to a ‘deleted’ status, they will still be accessible on training.gov.au as a reference point for industry to use for non-enrolment purposes. However, registered training organisations will be unable to enrol students in deleted units or qualifications. They will no longer be considered part of the VET delivery system and will not be funded for delivery, whilst they are in “deleted” status.

Click on the accordions below to see the qualifications and units that the AISC are considering for deletion and details of the past five years of enrolments for each.

Thank you to everybody that provided feedback about these two qualifications as part of the feedback round described below (between 2 December 2020 – 17 January 2021). Your feedback is being considered by the Subject Matter Expert Working Group and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation & Land Management IRC. A summary of feedback received during this time will be available shortly. You are welcome to provide further comment and respond to the survey questions as part of this consultation round as well. Feedback from the discussion paper and survey will help guide the AISC decision.

20152016201720182019Total
AHC40516 Certificate IV in Parks and Gardens10684634
AHC50716 Diploma of Parks and Gardens Management3732015

Summary of consultation to date

The draft qualifications and units have been drafted in consultation with subject matter experts. They have considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in October 2020. People working directly in the parks and gardens industry participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Validation

The diversity, beauty and sustainability of Australian parks and gardens is managed and maintained by a skilled workforce of grounds keepers and gardeners. Many of these spaces are home to native and unique plant species, animals and historic structures, which hold cultural and social importance and are visited by thousands of locals and tourists every year. As industry builds on its practices to promote biodiversity, adapt to climate change, and acknowledge the cultural significance of these spaces, the skills required for this work are changing. Alongside expertise in horticulture, skills are needed for reusing resources, planting native species, reducing herbicide and chemical use, and working alongside other industry professionals.

The final draft qualifications and units of competency for parks and gardens are now available for your validation and comment. Your help is required to validate the documents, which means checking and confirming that the documents are logical, factual and accurate. Please find the documents listed below.

They have been revised to clarify work functions so that they reflect current job roles in the industry, incorporate the latest work practices and include recycling and waste disposal options. Foundation skills have been added and assessment requirements updated. After extensive consultation with subject matter experts (SMEs) and industry stakeholders, two qualifications and one unit are proposed for deletion. These changes were made in response to stakeholder feedback that was received as part of the ‘Drafts Available’ stage, from 2 December 2020 – 17 January 2021 and about low enrolments from 15 March – 20 April 2021.

The draft documents will be available on this webpage for validation and feedback from 7 June – 21 June 2021.

Summary of feedback and key changes

Thank you to those stakeholders who provided feedback on the drafts and who provided advice on those training components proposed for deletion. Feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, online consultation webinars, and via phone call and email. The units were drafted with guidance from Subject Matter Experts, made up of workplace experts and industry.

Changes made to the documents based on industry feedback include:

  • Revision of the Certificates II and III in Parks and Gardens to support strong pathways into the industry.
  • The proposed deletion of the Certificate IV and Diploma in Parks and Gardens due to low enrolments over the past three years and industry advice that the higher-level skills and knowledge are currently attained through the horticulture qualifications, which offer learners a greater choice of training providers. Subject Matter Expert and industry feedback recommended reviewing and improving the higher-level units of competency within these qualifications during this current project, so that they can be incorporated into the horticulture suite of qualifications when those qualifications are reviewed in the future.
  • Revision of nineteen units to reflect current work practices and job roles and include references to waste disposal options such as recycling where applicable.
  • Proposed deletion of one unit AHCPGD205 Prepare a grave site, due to availability of more suitable units within the SIF30213 Certificate III in Gravedigging, Grounds and Maintenance qualification.

A description of how feedback has been considered and applied in these final drafts can be downloaded below. Please click the ‘Download Summary of Feedback, Responses and Actions’ button.

How to participate in the validation process

To view the documents, please click on the expandable menus below. You can submit your feedback online using our feedback hub or by email.

 Feedback hub

We have recently updated our feedback hub to improve the way stakeholders participate in the validation process of documents. You can submit your response and comments directly on the draft units and qualifications, as well as view any comments from others. Your comments will remain anonymous. Only Skills Impact internal staff and training package contractors working directly on the project can identify users. For more information, see our Privacy Policy. The feedback hub is also moderated to avoid misuse. For further details, see our Moderation Policy.

Please follow these steps: 

  1. Select the unit or qualification you would like to review.
  2. You will be asked to register or login (this is a free account). Follow the prompts.
  3. Once logged in, you will be able to respond to a question about whether the final draft meets the needs of industry. You will also be able to post any additional feedback directly on the document.
  4.  Download user instructions 

Please contact us if you require assistance.

 Feedback via email

Of course there is always the option to email us your feedback if you prefer. You can attach the unit or qualification with your track changes as feedback, or to provide general comments about the drafts. There is a link at the bottom of each document group where you can download the Microsoft Word versions of the units. Please email your feedback to Rebecca Ford rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

The Certificates II and III in Parks and Gardens were reviewed and updated to ensure strong pathways into the industry.

Qualification code and nameProposed changes Link
AHC2XX21 Certificate II in Parks and GardensAmended packaging rules, core units decreased by one unit. Core units list changed. Elective units updated.View draft qualification and provide validation or comment
AHC3XX21 Certificate III in Parks and GardensAmended packaging rules, core units increased by seven units.

Added PGD3XX Implement a plant establishment program to the Core

Updated Electives units

Added RIIWHS204E Work safely at heights to Electives

View draft qualification and provide validation or comment

Alternatively, you can email your feedback to Rebecca Ford rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

The final draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

The Certificate IV and Diploma in Parks and Gardens have had very low enrolments over the past three years and there are only two training providers currently offering these higher qualifications. Industry advice is that the higher-level skills and knowledge are currently attained through the horticulture qualifications and offer learners a greater choice of training providers. Therefore, these two qualifications are proposed for removal.

Subject Matter Expert and industry feedback recommended reviewing and improving the higher-level units of competency within these qualifications during this current project, so that they can be incorporated into the horticulture suite of qualifications when those qualifications are reviewed in the near future.

Qualification Code and NameLink
AHC40516 Certificate IV in Parks and GardensView qualification on training.gov.au
AHC50716 Diploma of Parks and Gardens ManagementView qualification on training.gov.au

You can email your feedback to Rebecca Ford rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

Unit code and nameRationaleLink
AHCPGD101 Support gardening workMinor changes to application and performance criteria, foundation skills added, assessment requirements updated.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD206 Conduct visual inspection of park facilitiesMinor changes/edits.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD2XX Plant trees and shrubsMinor changes/edits, reference to ‘plant and root ball’ and ‘recycling and disposing of waste’ added to performance evidence and knowledge evidence lists.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD2XX Prepare and maintain plant displaysAdded to waste disposal options eg: recycling.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD2XX Prune shrubs and small treesAdded to waste disposal options eg: recycling.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD2XX Transplant shrubs and small treesTitle changed. Added reference to waste disposal options including recycling, added manual handling, and lifting techniques and correct and safe use and care of tools/equipment.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD303 Perform specialist amenity pruningOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD304 Implement a landscape maintenance programOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD305 Conduct operational inspection of park facilitiesOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD306 Implement a maintenance program for an aquatic environmentOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD3XX Implement a plant establishment programChanges made to performance criteria and foundation skills.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD3XX Plan and maintain plant displaysAdded reference to waste disposal options including recycling, foundation skill added, irrigation system operation added to knowledge evidence.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD401 Design plant displaysMinor changes. Reference to client consultation and negotiation techniques added to knowledge evidence list.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD402 Plan a plant establishment programOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD501 Manage plant cultural practicesMinor changes. Reference to staff and contractor supervision and performance appraisal added to knowledge evidence list.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD502 Plan the restoration of parks and gardensOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD505 Conduct comprehensive inspection of park facilitiesOnly minor changes overall.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD504 Develop and implement a streetscape management planSubject Matter Expert advice and Industry feedback recommend retaining this unit and providing it as an elective in the Diploma of Horticulture to address future manager/leader level positions.View draft unit and provide validation or comment
AHCPGD5XX Manage parks and reservesSubject Matter Expert advice and Industry feedback recommend retaining this unit and providing it as an elective in the Diploma of Horticulture to address future manager/leader level positions.View draft unit and provide validation or comment

Alternatively, you can email your feedback to Rebecca Ford rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Unit code and nameRationaleLink
AHCPGD205 Prepare a grave siteThis unit is recommended for removal from the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package due to low enrolments and industry feedback that it is not suitable/applicable to the parks and gardens industry. There is a more suitable qualification on offer as part of the SIF Funeral Services Training Package – SIF30213 Certificate III in Gravedigging, Grounds and Maintenance.View unit on training.gov.au

You can email your feedback to Rebecca Ford rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

 

 

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced