Open Learning Course, self paced home study
- Study, Learn and Work in a Plant Nursery
- Improve your ability to sell plants and associated products
This course was developed in response to a request from a retail nurseryman who was finding it difficult to find staff with appropriate skills. As he put it, job applicants were either over qualified or lacked the basic skills needed: to be able to identify plants, advise customers on their use and to understand some basic sales techniques and procedures.
There are 5 lessons in this course:
Introduction to Plant Identification
Understanding plant classification and pronunciation of plant names.
Basic Sales Skills
Different customer types
communication skills to sell
how to open and close a sale.
Caring for Plants
Selecting the Right Plant for the Right Place
How to create different affects and moods using plants.
Advising Customers in a Nursery
Developing good communication skills
knowing your product
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Identify a range of different plants, based on their flower and leaf structures.
Describe the importance of effective communication and sales techniques in the retail nursery industry.
Demonstrate knowledge of how to care for plants, both in the garden and in the nursery.
Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate plant selection for a range of different sites.
Identify a range of plant health problems and describe appropriate chemical and non-chemical control methods to control those problems.
Demonstrate knowledge and use of nursery products.
Describe the importance of plant placement in the retail nursery
Why are Some Customers Difficult?
Different customers will react in different ways.
Here are some common problem situations that you should watch out for.
Things Moving Too Fast
The customer may become too enthusiastic, too fast; and not take time to think out their responses clearly (ie. Their mouth moves faster than their brain). Some people absorb things faster than others: moving fast may then leave some floundering; moving slower may risk the fast movers becoming bored.
Things Moving Too Slow
Boredom can set in if things are moving slowly. Don't try to explain things in so much detail that yout bore the customer. By involving the customer (asking questions and listening to their responses), you may be able to keep people involved longer.
Some Customers are Too Talkative
Some people have a natural tendancy to talk a lot. Unfortunately, these people often do not listen as well as they talk. It may take extra skills to get a message through to these people. Yo need to interject and try to manipulate a more interactive style of discussion here.
Some Cistomers do Not Talkative Enough
This may be due to shyness, or lack of understanding of the topic. Asking direct questions can help raise involvement.
Some Customers Think they know it All Already
This type of behaviour is often a "call for attention".
This type of person can confront and contradict you; and in this way be very disruptive. Their approach in turn needs to be disrupted by diverting them to other things: perhaps asking them to take notes, or putting him/her in a place where they can be ignored more easily. (eg. at the back of the class, only for teacher/student situations). Be positive in what you do. (eg. ask: ‘Jim, can you change places with Paul? You obviously already know this and Paul can't see properly from the back of the class").
Customers Are Argumentative As with the "know it all", this type of behaviour is often a call for attention. Asking this type of person to leave is a last resort. Better solutions are to have the other listeners put pressure on, or to move them to a blind spot where they can't be seen by the rest of the class.
Listener(s) Lack Focus If discussion moves off track, perhaps ask a question "Is this relevant to this situation?"
Sales person's Personality Clashes with Client/Customer A skilled communicator will ignore such problems; and under no circumstances show the customer(s) that they are affected in any way.
Personality Clashes between Audience - these problems can escalate and become uncontrollable. The sales person must intervene quickly as soon as the problem is detected, if damage is to be minimised.
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month.
- See www.acsebook.com for ebooks (available in pounds stirling). We also sell books through our Australian bookshop (selling in Australian dollars) at www.acsbookshop.com