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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Be an Asset in your Workplace: Learn the Basics of Engineering for Machines used in Horticulture and Agriculture.

Learn to select, maintain and correctly use a range of machines and equipment.

  • Introductory level course with particular reference to agriculture and horticulture
  • Develop an ability to manage the selection, maintenance and engineering of tools and machinery.
  • Learn the use and operation of tools, equipment and machines in the most effective distance education route.

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Learn to better Choose and Use Machinery and Equipment 

  • Practical studies in tools, machinery and equipment.
  • Understand how things work - with lessons including the operation and components of engines, hydraulics, and various tools.
  • Be able to choose the right tools or equipment for the job.
  • Through your understanding learn how to maintain equipment.
  • Save money by maintaining your own tools and equipment.
  • Improve safety for yourself and others by ensuring tools and equipment are correctly maintained.
  • Study online to further your career in machinery engineering.
  • Essential for anyone working with small or large machinery

Course Structure and Lesson Contents

There are eight lessons as follows:

Lesson 1. Engine Operation
  • History of Engines
  • Measurements and mechanical principles
  • Load, Force, Pressure, Atmospheric Pressure
  • Gravity, Centre of Gravity, Specific Gravity
  • Density, Volumetric Efficiency, Vacuum, Work, Power, Energy
  • Bore, Piston Motion, Piston Displacement
  • Compression Ratio
  • Converting Imperial Measurements to Metric
  • Understanding a Petrol Engine
  • Engine Operating Cycle
  • The Transmission System Stages in 4 Stroke Spark Ignition Engine Cycle
  • Stages in 2 stroke spark ignition Engine Cycle
  • Engine Efficiency
  • Understanding Electricity
  • Circuits
  • Measuring Electricity; current, voltage, resistance, Ohm’s Law
  • Power
  • Electricity Supply; batteries, mains power, generators, solar cells
  • Electricity and Engines
  • Electric Motors
Lesson 2.  Hydraulics
  •  What is Hydraulics
  • Simple Hydraulic System
  • Pumps
  • Tractors
  • Hydraulic Tappings
  • System Valves
  • 3 point linkage on tractors
  • Pressure
  • Measuring Pressure
  • Pressure Head
  • Friction Loss
  • Calculating Friction Loss
  • Calculating Discharge or Flow
  • Velocity
  • Water Hammer
  • Submersible Pumps
  • Irrigation
  • Measuring Water available to plants
  • Irrigation Calculations
Lesson 3.  Machinery Components
  • Parts of an Engine
  • Lubrication System
  • Cooling System
  • Fuel System
  • Ignition System
  • Transmission System
  • Examples of Mechanisation; potting machines, planters and drills, harvesters, graders, mowers
Lesson 4.Hand Tools
  •  Lifting objects manually
  • Scope of tools and equipment
  • Secateurs
  • Hand Saws
  • Rakes
  • Spades and Shovels
  • Forks
  • Aerating Equipment
  • Rollers
  • Hoes
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Sprayers
Lesson 5. Power Tools
  • Types of tools
  • Drills
  • Grinders
  • Power Saws
  • Compressors
  • Hedge Trimmers
  • Chain Saws
  • Brush Cutters
  • Mowers
  • Mulchers
  • Rotary Hoes
  • Tool Safety
  • Tool Maintenance
Lesson 6.Tractors
  • Choosing a tractor
  • Choosing implements and attachments
  • Mini Tractors
  • Tractor Parts
  • Clutch
  • Transmission
  • Tractor safety
  • Tractor operation
  • Tractor Engine
  • Fault Finding
  • Common Operating faults
Lesson 7.  Equipment Maintenance
  • Cleaning and Sharpening tools
  • Secateurs and branch cutting tools
  • Shovels and spades
  • Saws and Chainsaws
  • Rust protection
  • Maintaining timber handles
  • Plastic handles
  • Storage
  • Maintenance Procedures and Schedules
  • Training Equipment Operators
  • Rules for Operators
  • Engine Oil Additives
Lesson 8. Specific Workplace Requirements
  • Machinery Specifications
  • Application for an Industry Sector

Course Aims

  • To explain the operation of different types of motors, including petrol and electric engines.
  • To explain the principles of hydraulics in relation to agricultural and horticultural use.
  • To explain the operation of the main components of machinery commonly used in agriculture and horticulture including cooling, lubrication, fuel distribution, ignition and transmission systems.
  • To explain the safe and effective operation of different hand tools commonly used in agriculture or horticulture.
  • To determine the safe and appropriate operation of power tools in horticultural and agricultural situations.
  • To explain the safe and appropriate operation of a tractor in horticultural and agricultural situations.
  • Explain the maintenance procedures for different equipment commonly used in agriculture and horticulture, including hand tools, power tools and tractors.
  • To determine appropriate equipment for minimum work requirements in an agricultural or horticultural workplace.

What Do You Know about Tools and Equipment?

These days, a great deal of work can be undertaken using power tools. Nevertheless, there are many refined jobs that still require the use of hand tools. In fact, many highly skilled carpenters and cabinet makers would be 'lost' without an array of hand tools which afford them a greater sense of control and precision over power tools. In other instances, there may be no power available to run power tools or it just might not be practical to do so.

This course teaches you about the tools and techniques used for a wide variety of different types of work; from farming and landscaping to construction. It provides insights into how technology and the application of physics and other sciences; can make work more effective and productive in just about any workplace; or even around the home. 


When drilling a hole for a screw or a bolt, the drill and the drill bit must be suitable for the job. If you’re drilling a small hole in a small piece of softwood or even an aerated concrete brick, a cordless drill will be suitable, but for drilling into hard timber or masonry, a power drill is most useful.

  • Wood bit - for drilling into wood. We have already covered a number of them. Others include the twist bit which is the most common type of bit. Carbon steel twist bits are only intended for use in wood. High speed steel (HSS) can be used in other materials including metal. The paddle or spade bit is a wood bit which is best used in a power drill. It is flat and wide with a threaded spur in the centre and is used for boring wide holes e.g. to countersink a bolt head, or all the way through a board so as to feed a pipe or cable through. Other versions have a grooved centre point and a spur at each side.
  • Masonry bit - these have a spiral steel shaft and a tungsten carbide tip and are used for drilling into brickwork, stone, etc.
Hand Drills

Hand held drills are useful where control is needed for a job. Sometimes power drills can cause too much vibration in delicate work. With old fashioned hand held drills (known as a hand brace) the drill bit is inserted into the chuck and tightened (often by using a specialised tightening tool). The tip of the drill is placed onto the spot to be drilled and the drill's crank handle is turned whilst a knob at the other end of the drill is held steady to control movement. As such, this action turns the drill bit which bores into the wood.

The more modern version of the hand drill has a circular crank which is rotated using a wooden handle and a couple of cogged wheels rotate the chuck and turn the bit.

Electric Drills
  • Cordless drills - these are a great innovation. They are highly mobile and easy to use. Because they don’t require an extension cord you can use them in spots that are difficult to get to. They can be used for drilling holes, fixing screws and even sanding jobs. Like electric drills, cordless drills vary in power wattage, though they are not as powerful as electric drills. For larger jobs it is wise to have two cordless drills - so one is charging whilst the other is in use.
  • Power drills (or electric drills) - when drilling into hard materials such as hardwood timber and masonry, a cordless drill is simply not strong enough for the job. That’s where a power drill comes into its own. They can do all the same jobs as a cordless drill, but more quickly and with greater power.
  • Screwdriver bits such as pozidrive can be set into the chuck of a power drill enabling the drill to be used as a screwdriver. After drilling a hole for a screw in a piece of wood, a countersink bit can be used to create a countersunk hole so that the head of the screw is flush with the surface of the wood.
Drill Bits

Bits for drills may be distinguished by their usage e.g. metal, masonry or wood bits. For a hand drill, most bits are used in wood (or plaster) since it takes a lot of power to get through dense metal, brick and stone.

  • Centre bit - these were designed for use in the hand brace. They have a screw part in the centre surrounded by a radial spur and a cutting edge and a straight shaft. They do not need to be forced to make a hole - rotation is sufficient as they grip to the wood. To remove them from the hole, the drill bit is turned anti-clockwise. They tend to split end grain if used on it.
  • Auger bit - these also have a central screw thread but it is attached to a threaded shaft. Various designs exist and usually include at least one spur and cutting edge.
  • Gimlet bit - these are a very old style of tapered screw bit. They tend to cut the outside of the hole (or at least squash the wood fibres towards the outside) rather than cutting the centre of the hole.
  • Spoon bit - these are shaped something like a spoon with a sharpened edge and have a groove in the shaft. They should not be used in power drills. They can be used to drill at an angle, and lend themselves well to furniture making (especially chair and table legs).
  • Lip and spur bit - these have a point at the tip which can be pressed into the face of the timber which stops the bit from moving out of position.

Career Opportunities 

Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things, but without a fundamental understanding of an industry,; along with it's tools and equipment, you do not have a foundation to build upon.

A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning. Our style of education is experiential. This means:

  • You become familiar with a topic first.
  • You then revisit that topic and process that information in different ways by applying it to different situations.
  • By seeing something repeatedly from different perspectives; your appreciation for how that knowledge can be used, will grow.
  • This style of learning both broadens and deepens your abilities, and strengthens your problem solving and networking skills at the same time

Different colleges may teach similar subject matter; but the style of teaching varies from place to place. Different people learn in different ways, and different people need to learn different things. We use the experiential style because research shows it to be very successful for long term career success!

This Course is Relevant for:

  • Horticulturists: crop producers, grounds managers, parks and gardens, roadside and land management.
  • Agriculturists: farmers, farm machinery suppliers.
  • Anyone working machines and equipment in these industries.

Enrol Today

Engineering I, like all of our courses, can be started at any time. You study by distance learning (online or by eLearning), meaning you can fit your studies around your existing work or personal commitments. Although you are studying by distance learning, your experience of studying with ACS will be anything but - many of our courses feature practical elements, and projects for students to undertake, whilst all of our students have unlimited access to our excellent tutors who are on hand to provide them with support and guidance.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about studying with ACS, please get in touch with us today. You can phone us on (UK) 01384 442752 (International) +44 (0)1384 442752 - or use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to connect with our tutors - they will be pleased to answer your questions. 

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John MasonWriter, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
Jacinda ColeJacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.
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.

Check out our eBooks

Farm ManagementThe Farm Management ebook is a valuable piece of equipment for any farming student or current farmer. Improve your farm management skills or learn new skills and techniques. The topics covered within this Farm Management ebook include 1/ Scope and nature of the farm industry, 2/ The farm site, 3/ Production systems, 4/ Managing livestock, 5/ Managing pasture, 6/ Managing crops, 7/ Managing equipment and materials, 8/ Computer applications, 9/ Farm structures and buildings, 10/ Financial management, 11/ Marketing, 12/ Farm planning, 13/ Staff management, 14/ Water management and 15/ Diversification.
Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.
LeadershipWhat makes a good leader? Is it an innate personality trait or a skill that can be acquired? This book is an excellent guide to the theories and practice of leadership. It is full of interesting facts about social dynamics and examples of leadership styles. For those who are curious or in need of some leadership skills, this book will provide both entertainment and advice.
Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.