My three local Councils (Kiama, Shellharbour and Wollongong) often team up together on projects. One recent example was to offer 12 scholarships for people to do Permaculture Design Certificates (PDCs).
The idea was that they would provide funding for 4 people from each Council area to attend a PDC course of their choosing, and Council would pay the course fees (up to $1400 worth). The students have to pay accommodation, meals, travel, etc themselves. In return, the 12 students agree to share their new skills with others in the community, through whatever forms of community service interest them.
It sounded like a great opportunity, so I applied and was successful!
Because of work and family commitments, I couldn’t afford to be gone for 2 weeks on a typical PDC course. So I elected to do my course by correspondence, through local trainers Permaculture Visions. I met the owner, April, and toured their property a little while ago so I have full confidence that they offer a great course and have excellent knowledge of local climate, conditions, and resources.
A correspondence course lets me do the reading and much of the work at night, when I have free time. I like that I’m able to support a local business, and it may also be useful to be able to visit them in person once or twice during the course if need be.
I’ve wanted to do a PDC for a long time now, but could never really justify the cost. Most (all?) of the course content is available either free on the internet or in books from the library, and I’m the kind of person who enjoys learning from books. So I figured there wasn’t enough extra value in paying for a course.
But doing the PDC course brings all that disparate knowledge together into a structured curriculum. It also puts you in contact with other students and experienced instructors, so you can get information and advice on specific issues you have. And you get the certificate at the end, which demonstrates your qualification to others and gives you the right to use the term “permaculture” in a business name (likely not a big deal to me, but you never know what the future may hold!).
I’m hoping that by the end of the course, I’ll have at least the bare bones of a permaculture design plan for our property here. I’ll be able to pick the brains of the students and instructors, and hopefully get feedback as I develop it. So that will be a huge tangible benefit.
I’ll be able to use the skills I learn from the PDC in my activities in various local groups – Jamberoo Community Growers, Jamberoo FutureCare, the Kiama Council Health & Sustainability Advisory Committee, etc. Jamberoo Primary school is just starting to get a school garden going, and I’ll be involved in that too. Plus I’ll be blogging about the course as I go. So, plenty of opportunities to share the PDC goodness with other people!
I’m just waiting on the paperwork from Council so I can enrol and get started. I’m super keen!