Accredited Training

An Overview of Permaculture Accredited Training™

Permaculture International Ltd  Accredited Permaculture Training™ (APT) Administration Committee:

Last Updated:  26 October 2011  (Robyn Francis)


  1. Overview of APT™
  2. APT™ Qualifications – a brief overview of each level
  3. Competency Based Training
  4. Units of Competency


1. Overview of APT™

In July 2003 the first nationally accredited qualifications in permaculture were approved by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). The new training, known as Accredited Permaculture Training™ (APT), is owned and administered by Permaculture International Ltd, Australia’s peak national permaculture organization.

In 2008-09 the APT™ qualifications underwent a major 5-year review to update in line with AQTF changes and improved with the benefit of the initial 5 years delivery experience. In November 2009, APT™ qualifications were reaccredited for a further 5-year period.

The APT courses were amended in September 2011 which entailed upgrading imported units to the new AHC training package, some APT unit C-versions and updating terminologies in line with the new ASQA authorities.

There are five qualifications on offer under APT™ – Certificates I,II, III & IV in Permaculture and Diploma of Permaculture.  Certificate I is suitable for beginners, from secondary school age upwards.   The Diploma is for experienced professional practitioners.

People who have completed a Permaculture Design Course, (PDC) will receive appropriate credits towards the new qualifications. APT™ has been designed to recognise and build on current training in permaculture, including the PDC.


Qualifications can be achieved in two ways:

  1. by Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for experienced permaculturists with an approved APT™ RPL assessor; or
  2. Full-time, part-time and flexible learning studies with an approved APT™provider.

For the initial delivery period PIL negotiated a partnership with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to enable training and recognition (RPL) services to be available throughout Australia and specifically to enable existing permaculture trainers and training venues to offer APT™ under an auspice or partnering arrangement.

The APT courses are administered by the APT committee established by PIL, to administer legal requirements, RTO agreements, register APT trainers and coordinate reviews.. Other important roles include supporting trainers, developing resources and delivery tools and to facilitate the compulsory ASQA reviews to ensure training remains current and relevant.

APT™ Approved Teachers Register (ATR)

All trainers delivering APT must first be approved and listed on this register. APT trainers must be members of PIL (membership requires a PDC or equivalent), an APT qualification to the level being taught, the TAA or TAE Cert IV and complete the APT Course Orientation Workshop (COW). This ensures that all trainers meet both permaculture and ASQA quality assurance standards. APT training is delivered by license or auspice arrangement through PIL approved RTO’s (Registered Training Organisation).

RTO Arrangements

National Auspicing Bodies
A national auspicing service  for APT™ delivery is provided by Eltham College Training Services to other training organizations and independent providers.

The national auspicing RTO for APT is:
Eltham College Training Services (ECTS) – Melbourne, specialises in school education and auspicing APT training in the secondary school system. EC provides auspicing (partnering) of APT to independent APT providers for all levels of qualification.

Contact: Andria Kliszewski

1660  Main Road  Research / PO  Box  40,  Eltham, Victoria  3095
Ph: 03 9433  9956 Fax: 03 9437  1881


RTO Licenses to deliver APT

RTOs may apply for a license to deliver APT courses and issue qualifications. Please refer to Information for RTO’s and Permaculture Trainers for further details



Certificate I in Permaculture

  • provides basic skills training in permaculture under full supervision.

Suited to secondary school students, those who are unemployed or working on labour market/community development programs including indigenous persons.

Certificate II in Permaculture

  • provides higher level skills training in permaculture where supervision is provided on a routine basis.

Suitable for secondary school students, volunteer groups (including WWOOF’ers, community gardeners), and those who are unemployed or working on labour market/community development programs including indigenous persons. This level also suits individuals with basic skills to start permaculture systems in their own gardens or property

Certificate III in Permaculture

  •  provides ‘trade’ equivalent skills training in permaculture where a person is able to operate in a skilled and independent manner.

This level is for senior secondary school students, volunteer groups, property owners who are developing permaculture systems on their land, those interested in providing permaculture implementation services and those who are working on and supervising small groups in labour market/community development programs including indigenous persons.

Certificate IV in Permaculture

  • provides skills training in permaculture for those who will be supervising permaculture works on rural and urban properties, who are working as project officers on community permaculture projects, and those seeking to become permaculture designers and/or advisors.

This level is designed for those who have completed prior permaculture studies, those looking to be supervisors on labour market/community development programs including those based in indigenous communities. The core competencies at Level IV encompass the breadth of the existing PDC with additional design and consulting skills development.

Diploma in Permaculture

  • provides training in permaculture for those who are working as project managers on permaculture community development projects, and those seeking to become permaculture systems designers and/or consultants. Client groups include those who have completed basic permaculture studies, those looking to be supervisors on labour market/community development programs including those based in indigenous communities.



At each qualification level there are a minimum number of competencies that must be achieved. The competencies are expressed in terms of actions rather than subject matter and should not be interpreted as a list of subjects. To achieve a competency there are essential knowledge and skills, performance criteria and employability skills, which a student must demonstrate competency in, and these form the basis for training delivery and assessment.

APT was designed to enable the development of numerous pathways for people to gain these competencies and the training that leads towards them. Pathways can include full-time training; part-time courses; flexible learning (combining short courses, monitored and self-directed learning and project work); short course training, workplace experience and RPL.



Units of Competency are developed in a standard national framework for all Vocational Education and Training.

  • Each Unit of Competency describes a permaculture activity appropriate to the level of training.
  • The activity is broken down into the Elements which describe the job outcomes or tasks required to undertake that activity and each Element or task is explained further under the Performance Criteria.
  • The Range Statement describes the various contexts in which the task may be undertaken and the Assessment Guide explains any specific requirements of assessment.
  • The essential Knowledge and Skills required for gaining competency are listed in dot point lists, and performance of the competency must take account of Employablity Skills (generic workplace skills) for the qualification level.

Units provide a reference framework for trainers to develop training programs and curricula, in much the same way that an architect refers to the Building Code when designing a house. The Unit framework is primarily designed to provide standard benchmarks or criteria for assessing the competence of the students and ensure the training programs (Delivery Modules) address all the knowledge and skills requirements. This enables a high degree of flexibility for individual course delivery to suit the training context and needs of students.

Units can be clustered into training modules or short courses which contribute credits towards a number of units, eventually leading to a qualification. Students can also earn credits through activities in their work, on their own property, volunteer work with community organizations, workplace experience with practitioners in related trades and enterprises, and through travelling as WWOOFers and international volunteers.

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