Gerard Beatty, Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horticulture (Sportsturf Management) graduate, from CAFRE, Greenmount Campus, writes:
HAVING a background in computers and IT solutions and managing my own business for several years I decided to step away from that industry and go back to something that I really enjoyed doing when I was growing up, working outside with plants.
I always had an interest in general horticulture but aside from experience in my own garden nothing formal. None the less I decided to start my own business in lawn and garden maintenance called Finaghy Garden Services.
A few years later, I came across the CAFRE website and went to an open night and heard how the Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horticulture (Sportsturf Management) could help me gain the expertise I needed.
I started my course in September studying one day per week for two years, subjects as diverse as weeds, pests and diseases to operating equipment safely. This knowledge was of real value to me to improve my business.
I was surprised just how technical all the subject areas were but the support given to us by the CAFRE teaching staff was fantastic.
I was able to apply my computer and IT skills very usefully to an investigative project, in sportsturf management, which allowed me to tailor management programmes for my clients.
The programme I studied at CAFRE was exciting and varied. Throughout the course if I had any questions, I could talk with my lecturers Paul Campbell and Fergal Greenan, as well as the other students in my class who were generally very experienced in their own individual areas of sportsturf maintenance.
My advice to anybody thinking of a career change to Horticulture and wants to improve their own skills and develop new ones is to enrol on a part-time programme at CAFRE.
For more details on the Horticulture courses and how to apply visit the Horticulture courses pages on the CAFRE website at www.cafre.ac.uk/study-at-cafre/course-finder/horticulture/.