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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Engineering Applications - Distance Learning Course

  • learn to make jobs easier in agriculture or horticulture
  • seek a job using surveying, earthworks, water management, environmental control (eg. heating, cooling, ventilation, etc.), fencing and chemical applications
  • develop skills to apply appropriate and innovative engineering solutions
  • to improve efficiency and productivity in agriculture and horticulture
  • develop engineering solutions to different workplace tasks/problems

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  • tools and machines can make work easy; but you need to know what tool to use and where to use it
  • build a foundation for solving problems in agriculture, horticulture, property management, construction and beyond


Duration:  100 hours


There are nine lessons as follows:

1. Surveying

2. Earthworks

3. Water management

4. Environmental control

5. Chemical applications

6. Fencing

7. Mechanisation

8. Engineering efficiency

9. Developing engineering solutions





  • Explain surveying, including basic principles and techniques, appropriate for horticulture and agriculture
  • Determine earthworks required for an agricultural or horticultural site
  • Determine appropriate water management for an horticultural/agricultural site.
  • Determine technological solutions for environmental control problems, in rural or horticultural situations.
  • Explain the operation of equipment commonly used to apply pesticides and other chemicals in both horticultural and agricultural workplaces.
  • Determine appropriate fencing to use for different purposes; including security and restricting the movement of animals, pests or traffic, in agricultural and horticultural situations.
  • Explain the operation of machinery commonly used to mechanise manual tasks carried out in horticultural and agricultural workplaces.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of engineering applications in agricultural and horticultural workplaces.
  • Determine procedures for improving work tasks in agricultural and horticultural situations.


Cultivating Soil
Soil is cultivated to make it looser, sometimes so it can be shaped or moved easier; sometimes so you can mix other things into it, and sometimes to prepare it for agricultural or horticultural use.
Don't cultivate soil unless you have a reason though!
Cultivation of soil may be carried out for one or all of these reasons:
  1. To control weed growth (in this case the cultivation does not need to be very deep. A cut one inch below the surface is sufficient to severely disrupt weed growth. This may be done to kill or remove weeds, before moving earth or changing levels.
  2. To remove rubbish buried in the soil (eg. tree stumps, rocks, builders materials, etc) Cultivation can be used to bring such materials to the surface, loosen them in the earth, and/or drag them from the area to be worked.
  3. To loosen earth so that it can be dug, removed or shaped more easily.
Deep cultivation in some situations can destroy the natural soil profile, creating drainage and other problems. Heavy cultivation (or the weight of heavy machinery), close to or in a water holding area (eg. watercourse, dam or lake) can crack the impervious layer in the soil which holds the water. In this way, for example it is in fact possible to destroy the natural flow of a creek (by doing construction work over or around it during the dry season).
Chisel Ploughs
Chisel ploughing consists of pulling heavy cultivators tines through the soil at a greater depth than conventional ploughing. This action breaks up or bursts the underlying layers of soil with bringing the subsoil to the surface (as opposed to the soil turning action of other ploughs). These ploughs are useful for improving drainage, aerating the soil, breaking up soil pans and pulling up deep-rooted weeds.
Disc Ploughs
This consists of a series of discs mounted individually at an angle to the ground. Drawn behind a tractor they rotate as they cut the soil. The tilted angle helps to turn the soil over but decreases the depth of the cut.
Rotary Cultivators
Rotary hoes can be either self propelled units (common in earthworks for a home garden) or tractor mounted units. This type of machine mixes the soil more thoroughly than most other types of cultivators. Rotary hoes will bring buried materials to the surface, allowing the ground to be cleaned up. As such, it can be more destructive to the soil profile. In situations where the soil profile is not of significant concern, the rotary hoe is perhaps the most efficient machine.
Disc Cultivators or Harrows
Similar to disc plough but with discs closer together and mounted in pairs. They are comprised of a number of sets (gangs) of concave discs which can be set at variable angle to the direction of travel. The greater the set of the disc angle, the more severe the resulting disruption of the soil. The discs turn and breakdown the soil surface.
Spring Tined Cultivators and Scarifiers
These tractor mounted cultivators are more like single fixed spikes which are dragged through the soil. While ripping and loosening the soil this type of implement does less mixing of soil than the disc or rotary implements. As the tines are drawn through the soil the flexibility and movement of the tines allows them to vibrate and this helps break down soil clods.





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Meet some of our academics

Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

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