Sunday, October 31, 2010

First lessons

The first lesson was pretty straight forward.We learned to identify the various tools used int he landscape industry.Two days were spent learning and we were tested on the third day.The tests were oral based.The examiner would ask you about 15 to 20 questions. This helps if you are not good in English.If your examiner understood Malay or Mandarin the candidate can use either language to answer the test.The questions asked were not difficult.In fact everyone looked forward to the test day as we get to go back by 2pm

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Potting yard

Potting yard at the Singapore Botanical Gardens.Apart from classrooms,there are two cool houses for plants.The gardeners come here to rest during their lunch break

The course started on 1 October 2010 and was to end on 4 November 2010.

The classrooms are located in a little corner of the Singapore Botanical Gardens called the potting yard.We were introduced to some of the tools and materials used in the landscape industry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Certificate in Landscape Operations

The certificate is made up of 10 modules.7 of them are core subjects while the remaining 3 are elective.The 7 core subjects are:

1) Identify lansdcape materials,horticultural products,irrigation components and
tools used in the industry

2) Prepare to work within the landscape industry

3) Recognise plants and their growth requirements

4) Recognise pest, diseases, invasive and noxious plant species

5) Prune plants (not exceeding 3 metres)

6) Improve soil and media

7) Workplace health and safety - Operations

There are 6 elective subjects but we only needed to take up the first 3 listed

1) Plant, mulch and maintain planted areas

2) Safe use and handling of non-hazardous chemicals under supervision

3) Maintain amenity turf and open grassed spaces

4) Perform formative pruning of plants

5) Produce plants from seeds and simple cuttings and division

6) Prepare media for propogation, potting or growing on


When WDA (Workforce Development Agency) was set up in 2003 there were only a handful of courses to train people in.Workers were sent to WSQ (Workskills Qualification) courses to attain competency in relevant jobs in the security, cleaning and landscape industries.7 years later you have a wide array of courses to choose from.

I had been planning to take up a course in the Food and Beverage industry for quite some time. I resigned from my job in August and send in my application to the At-Sunrice Academy.The course in question was to lead to a Certificte In Food Preparation. The couse recuiter told me that my 'O 'Levels Maths result was not good enough to make the cut and told me to take a short exam to get a statement of attainment in numeracy skills.

I took the test with SSA consultants and passed. It was too late for the Food Preparation course so I decided to take up the Certificte in Landscape Operations from CUGE (Centre For Urban Greenery And Ecology).CUGE, I found out later, was a join venture between WDA and National Parks Board.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to school

It has been 7 years since I last went to school for training.It was not so easy back then to get the government to fund your training. It was administered by the Skills Development Fund (SDF). You need your comany's human resource department to send in the paperwork.If your bosses agree to send you for training there were usually a bond involve.This bond can last from 6 months to a year.I got approval to attend a course conducted by TMIS. It was an UFTA Dilpoma.The travel agent that I worked for would send in the paperwork and the cheque for 10 percent of the course fees.I had to reimburse the course fees from deductions to my pay. This was illegal but I agreed to it as I was eager to get certified.

I had to attend classes 3 times a week in the evenings. It was tiring and I screwed up in the exams.