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Certificate III in Nursery Operations


Certificate III in Nursery Operations

Plant yourself where your career will grow.

Qualification Description

This qualification provides a general vocational outcome in amenity horticulture. Certificate III in Nursery Operations includes classroom and practical training and assessment to develop skills and knowledge in crop/plant selection, cultivation, management of soil, irrigation, fertilizers, weeds, control of pests and diseases, handling of chemicals, and work health and safety procedures (WHS).

Subsidised under SkillingSA an SA Government Initiative. Eligibility and subsidy criteria apply, please visit www.skills.sa.gov.au

Why Ironwood Institute?

Ironwood Institute has been delivering quality Horticulture training since 2009. It provides state-of the-art training facilities in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD with access to practical sites at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Adelaide City Council Parks and Nurseries.

Outstanding Achievements

Ironwood students have won the prestigious South Australian Horticulture Student of the Year Award for 2022 and 2023.

Lisa Agars, the 2023 winner, is currently studying Certificate III in Horticulture at Ironwood Institute and has already progressed to the position of Propagation Manager with Lewis Horticulture, a leading horticulture company at Riverlea Park.

Zoe Hsu, the 2022 winner, graduated with the Certificate III and Diploma of Horticulture and is currently working as a senior nursery person at Poplar Grove, a leading wholesale nursery at Sellicks Beach.

Lisa Agars 2023 SA Horticulture
Student of the Year Winner
Zoe Hsu 2022 SA Horticulture
Student of the Year Winner

Important Information


The course will be delivered in 52 weeks (one year).

Full-time study for 40 weeks and a break period of 12 weeks between 4 study terms. Each study term is approx. 10 weeks long.

The scheduled contact study per week is 16 hours.

The classes are scheduled per study week for two full days (9 am to 5 pm) 

There are also additional 14 hours of self-study scheduled per study week for students.

Intake Dates


AQF Level




Mode of Delivery

Face to Face.

Location of Delivery

Classroom site:

  • Ironwood Institute: Level 3, 112-118 Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000

Practical site:

  • Adelaide City Council Nursery: War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide SA 5006
  • Adelaide Botanic Gardens: Hackney Road, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • St Laurences Priory: 134 Buxton Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

The Institute does not provide transportation to sites and it is student’s responsibility to get there on time on practical training days either on bus or at their own transport medium.

Entry Requirements

Ironwood has a minimum level of requirements that students need to meet to enrol in a course(s)

  1. All students need to be 18 years of age at time of commencement.  
  2. Satisfactory reading, writing, and numeracy skills.  If you wish to access subsidised training, you will need to complete the CORE Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA) along with an Upfront Assessment of Needs to ascertain if you are suitable to undertake the training.

If you have a verified disability/medical condition and require additional support please contact Ironwood Admissions  or call 08 8227 0300 before applying to discuss your needs. To be eligible for support you must provide medical documentation to verify your disability/medical condition.

Material and Equipment Required

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is compulsory for this course. Following are the PPE items:

Students can purchase through Ironwood Institute at the cost of AUD 373.00 or can make the items available at their own cost before course commencement.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No occupational licensing, legislative, or certification requirements apply to this qualification at the time of publication.

Course Structure

  • Total Units 16
  • Core Units 9
  • Elective Units 7

Transport and store chemicals (Core)


Prepare and apply chemicals to control pest, weeds and diseases (Core)


Troubleshoot irrigation systems (Core)


Maintain nursery plants (Core)


Implement a plant nutrition program (Core)


Provide information on plants and their culture (Core)


Control plant pests, diseases and disorders (Core)


Prepare growing media (Core)


Contribute to work health and safety processes (Core)


Receive and dispatch nursery products (Elective)


Implement a propagation plan (Elective)


Apply biosecurity measures (Elective)


Operate pressurised irrigation systems (Elective)


Operate machinery and equipment (Elective)


Control weeds (Elective)


Implement soil improvements for garden and turf areas (Elective)

For further details about each unit of competency please refer to AHC31120 Certificate III in Nursery Operations.

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods include but are not limited to:


On successful completion of this course, you will be awarded AHC31120 Certificate III in Nursery Operations. Students who successfully complete only one or more units of competency within this Qualification will receive a Statement of Attainment. (By enrolling in this course, Ironwood Institute does not guarantee a learner will successfully complete and receive the qualification).

Qualification Pathways

Certificate III in Landscape Construction, Certificate III in Arboriculture, Certificate IV in Horticulture, Certificate IV in Sports Turf Management, Certificate IV in Parks and Gardens, Certificate IV in Production Nursery, Diploma of Horticulture.

Employment Opportunities

Job roles and titles vary across different industry sectors. For those with appropriate work experience, knowledge, and skills gained from this Certificate III can help the candidate to take on the following roles which include but not limited to:

(Ironwood Institute does not guarantee an employment outcome, licence, or accreditation at the completion of this qualification).

Work-based Training

Not applicable

Work Placement

Not applicable


Ironwood Institute will charge the learner for the enrolment application, tuition, material fees, and training product as per the nominated fee schedules as outlined below;

Fee Type   Admission (AUD) Learning
PPE (AUD) Tuition (AUD) Total (AUD) Payment Plan
Traineeship $0 $0 $100 $498 $598 Initial deposit of $224.50 and the 3 payments of $124.50 every 3 months
Concessions (Traineeship) $0 $0 $100 $0 $100 --
Full Fee $250 $250 $100 $9,975 $10,575 Initial deposit of $3,000 and the 3 payments of $2,525 every 3 months

Students are encouraged to contact the Institute for current specials and to apply for scholarships.

Learn more about Horticulture

Find out more about Horticulture in South Australia.
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Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in this course? If so, please click the Apply Online button. If you would like to know more then contact us today and we will get back to you ASAP.

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