STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCES
'In 2005, with a business plan and a passion to grow things, Lana Mitchell enrolled in several courses with the ACS. She did the hydroponics course, and then a course on growing cut-flowers, and with these, she started a venture growing the Australian native flannel flower using hydroponics. Within a year she won a scholarship that enabled her to continue her studies, including a course on propagation by cuttings and a course on horticultural marketing. Within 2 years, she was exporting flowers to Japan, USA, Europe and the UK, and quickly gaining a reputation as having some of, if not the best quality Flannel flower in the country.
In the last 3 years, Lana has won the Young Achievers Award from the Flowers Association of Queensland (2008) and then the prestigious RIRDC Rural Women's Award for NSW in 2010, with a bursary of $10,000 and the Australian
Institute of Company Directors Course. She owns the plant breeders rights for a specific tall stemmed variety of Flannel flower, called White Romance, and licenses growers in Australia and overseas to grow the flower for the cut-flower industry. She also propagates the flannel flower for the nursery industry and for botanic gardens.
"I consider that my success in recent years is directly related to the training I have done with the ACS. The materials were spot on, and the tutors were superb. I have always firmly believed that if you have a passion to do something, the only thing that will prevent you from attaining your goals, is lack of training and lack of understanding -- and for me, the Australian Correspondence School makes sure that that does not occur. Could not recommend them more."
Sabine- Hillview Assisted Learning
"Hi. My name is Sabine and I just wanted to tell you how useful I found your Equine Behaviour course.
Together with other courses and professional qualifications it gave me a great foundation to start my own dream business, “Hillview Equine Assisted Learning”, which is an experiential type of therapy based on the interaction and communication between humans & horses. 4 years ago I had the great privilege of fulfilling my life’s dream of buying a small farm and acquiring 4 horses, as well as a variety of other animals.
Since I am a counsellor and have been a foster carer for traumatised children for 9 years and watched how the children benefited from the interaction with the horses, I wanted to learn more about how to understand & communicate with the horses.
Even though I had been around horses all my life, done vaulting and dressage lessons for years, enjoyed trail riding and volunteer work with RDA (disabled riders), I felt that I really didn’t have enough understanding of horses behaviour and language. This is where the Equine Behaviour course came in and helped me a great deal, giving me a good basis to work on communicating with my horses and inspiring me to attend EAGALA conferences (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) and follow up with natural horsemanship clinics from then on. Last year I started my business (Hillview Equine Assisted Learning), which is specifically designed to address the mental health issues experienced by traumatised children.
It is not a profitable business, as the feed and maintenance costs for the horses far outweighs the income, but it is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. It is so wonderful to watch the children learn to interact and communicate with the horses, learn to focus, increase mindfulness and self awareness skills, grow in confidence and self-esteem.
I feel grateful to my horses every day, as they willingly team up with me to teach important life skills to children who had a tough start in life and deserve every bit of help we can give them."
Pocket Herbs are located in Burringbar in Northern NSW and grow quality micro herbs for high end restaurants and retailers. They started off as a family production, producing small quantities of micro herbs. When they learned that there was a demand for their produce, the scale of production increased.
Micro greens and baby leaf herbs are simply young seedlings of greens or herbs that are intensely flavoured, tender and beautiful. They are typically harvested after 7-18 days and though small in size, micro greens are packed full of flavour and nutrients and look great.
Micro Greens/Baby Leaf Herbs are smaller and more tender than baby lettuces, yet more robust and flavourful than sprouts!
Micro Greens/Baby Leaf Herbs are propagated from flowering plant seeds. Plants are normally harvested just past the cotyledon stage when the plants’ possess an active green bud and ‘propyls’ or first true leaves. This is before the baby green stage – around the onset of photosynthetic sustainability. The stem and baby leaves are all that are consumed… not the roots as would be the case with alfalfa and bean sprouts.
Pocket herbs are looking at the option of growing edible flowers and have enrolled their staff into some courses with ACS Distance Education to learn new skills. This is a great example of a business growing with market demands, identifying gaps in the market and evolving their product range to meet market demands and trends.
More information on Pocket Herbs is here.
Sue studied with us and found that distance education allowed her to gain new skills and knowledge and adjust her career whilst she also had young children. Studying with us inspired a 30 year career and successful landscaping business- Grotec .
Pam is the Founder and Director of Edgar's Mission and has studied the Animal Anatomy and Physiology course with us. This is what she had to say:
"As the Founder and Director of not for profit animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission it is paramount that the animals in our care receive the very best we can provide, both in terms of husbandry and facilities. To this end I am forever seeking to learn more, however I have little to no time to attend colleges or universities to further my knowledge. Scouring the internet, I was beyond delighted to find ACS Distance Education who offer a variety of self-paced courses covering a vast array of subjects related to farm animals. After searching through and highlighting courses of interest I settled upon the Animal Anatomy and Physiology course, which is just so interesting and greatly enables me to better understand and assist animals, and I am shortly to complete a Poultry course. Our farm manager has recently undertaken a course on pasture management with ACS Distance Education too. Assignments are quickly marked and returned along with constructive and helpful comments, which really complements the learning experience. My next challenge is to decide which course to undertake, there are just so many to choose from. "
Kristy Burns- Natural Health Conscious Living
Kristy studied some Natural Health courses with ACS Distance Education. Kristy started her own business- Natural Health Conscious Living and has found the course complemented her goals and business direction, whilst providing her with confidence and knowledge.
Jill Brown- Advanced Life Coaching
Jill studied Life Coaching with ACS and subsequently started her own life coaching business.
Carlia studied the Certificate in Wildlife Conservation with ACS. Watch her video.
Mark studied the Temperate Fruit Trees course with us for a tree change he has planned on retirement. Watch what he had to say about his experience.
Listen to Suzie's experience about studying with ACS.
Eloise studied our foundation horticulture course, Horticulture I, with ACS Distance Education. This course fostered a love of horticulture in Eloise and she went onto further training and now has a rewarding career working for a Botanical Garden.
Here's what she had to say:
Do you find the course to be a valuable learning experience? Why?
"Yes. 100%. I found the structure, lessons and assignments practical, easy to understand and informative. I really felt like I was actually learning valuable information, much of which I have retained and still refer to. And I know that the knowledge I gained through this course led me to the position I am in now which is a horticulturist at a West Australian botanic garden.
I recall reading John Mason's history of the school and I liked how he designed the course with long term learning being the priority, as opposed to shorter term, box ticking, competency-based style of education. This effectively made up my mind in commencing the course.
I have studied with other training providers and found the course structure to be convoluted and disappointing. These other study experiences really highlighted how enjoyable my study experience was with ACS. And as soon as I had an interview or work trial I could easily prove myself using the foundation knowledge I gained from ACS.
I loved the delivery of the course, and the lack of deadlines etc. I wasn't working at the time and it was the perfect opportunity to change direction in my life towards something I was really passionate about. After my traineeship I applied for a qualified position and was successful. This is where I am now (well actually I'm on maternity leave at present).
I went from having zero experience/knowledge in horticulture to now working in one of the best Botanic Gardens in the world...and I do put a lot of that down to ACS - so thank you!"
Torston studied the Project Management course with ACS Distance Education. He is using what he has learned in the course in his job working in Project Management.
This is what he had to say:
Do you find the course to be a valuable learning experience?
The course materials were well laid out, time frames to submit been sufficient and most of all the reply to assignments and mark up by lecturer been fantastic and helpful.
Overall comments you may wish to make:
As I'm coming from a practical background this course was a challenge for me with a fair amount of study involved. The lecturer been fantastic in her replies with ideas and suggestions. The materials provided been effective and sufficient.
Dan studyied the Proficiency Award 3 of Counselling and Psychology with ACS. He also is a Manager at a radio station.
This is what he said about the course:
Do you find the course to be a valuable learning experience? Why?
The course is valuable to me presently in my job role as a manager. The insights from the course will also help me in my short films as I understand the human mind better. I also hope to get more into mentorship and this is a mighty tool in that regard.
Overall comments you may wish to make:
It’s been an excellent experience, rewarding and enlightening.
1. Why did you decide to change careers?
I decided to change careers as I felt I had more of an affinity to plants than banking/IT systems and it felt more natural working with plants.
2. Why did you choose to study by distance?
I was working as a Business Analyst in the Banking/IT industry but had been interested in plants as a hobby from a young age. The flexibility of Distance education provided an opportunity to explore and prepare for a new career while still working full time.
3. Why did you make your decision to do your study with ACS College?
After researching my options, I chose to study with ACS as the course was delivered completely by distance. TAFE was another option but required obtaining an apprenticeship which meant a significant decrease in salary that would make it difficult to support my young family. As a mature age student the thought of mixing with 16 & 17 yo school leavers was not very appealing either.
Through my long-held interest in gardening I knew a lot about gardening before I started formal study and the ACS courses structure allowed me to custom-fit a qualification that complemented my background, experience and specific interest in garden design.
4. Why did you choose to study the Garden Design Certificate?
I was passionate about gardening but was useless with a wheelbarrow and shovel. I did however enjoy talking with people about their gardens - finding out how their gardens worked compared to how they wanted them to work then finding ways to make it all happen. Solving garden design challenges allows me to use my business analyst experience to find creative gardening solutions.
5. What aspects of your course did you enjoy or find most valuable, and why?
I enjoyed all my studies, particularly the Set Tasks and Assignments which were practical and in-depth. They required getting out and about in the neighbourhood, looking at gardens, landscaping features, talking to people, taking my digital camera, identifying plants over 350 plant varieties etc. Some of my favourite lessons were Native Trees, Landscape Construction and Cottage Garden design.
6. How would you compare this course to other courses you may have done in the past?
The main difference between my experience of studying at University and studying with ACS is that at University you're basically regurgitating text books. In contrast ACS assignments can be quite involved requiring hands-on application of principles, creative thinking and analysis.
7. Have you developed any areas of speciality?
Since a teenager I've had a particular passion for exotic fruit trees and enjoy eating and growing fruit that just isn't available from supermarkets. I further indulge and share this passion. through my part-time role as Fruit Tree Specialist at Gardenworld Nursery. My philosophy is don’t order anything that I haven’t grown successfully myself. I like to find different ways to inspire people including regular contributions to the Greenworld blog, providing fruit samples from my own trees for customers to see, feel, smell and taste. Displaying photographs of trees in their various stages of growth and fruiting also helps engage customers and invites them to look beyond what might be an unassuming young tree.
My successes include growing delicious subtropical fruit in Melbourne and my special interests are Heritage fruits – old fashioned, non hybrid fruits as well as Permaculture fruits.