View Full Version : Traineeships? Please Explain.
03-11-2006, 09:02 PM
Hey PRI online community,
I am only a recently introduced person to the whole permaculture scene and was wondering if people could please explain the permaculture traineeship. Is it like a traditional traineeship where you are mentored by a more experienced person, or is it merely practicing permaculture in your own right?
I am currently defering my study and have been looking for a source of employment which would be self-fulfilling, educational and provide finances for later tertiary and travel ambitions. I have recently discovered permaculture and have been avidly reading as much as I can on the topic. I saw the potential to defer study and take up a couple of years of employment in the permaculture industry, with the possibility even of permanently immersing myself in it. I looked to do the PDC course on offer at Melbourne Uni in mid-January next year, but my father said that I could only gain access to the finances for the course if I have guaranteed employment upon completion of the course (I was content just to study, learn as much as I could, and hope I might get employment, and if not rest contented I understand more of my surroundings and how I can live harmoniously within them.).
Could people please explain the traineeship? Is it like a traditional traineeship where you are mentored by a more experienced person, or is it merely practicing permaculture in your own right? How would I go about making contact with a potential mentor, or do I just set up my own business?
Also, if people could recommend any reference material or organisations I could use in my study I would be very grateful. What books and websites are useful? What does a local Permaculture association have to offer?
Thanks for the help,
Richard on Maui
04-11-2006, 02:24 AM
I don't know specifically which traineeship you are referring to... Permaculture isn't much of an official organisation as such, more of a loose affiliation of likeminded people who more or less subscribe to the ethics and principles as outlined in the books by Mollison and Holmgren, and now quite a few others.
Various organisations and individuals within the moevement will offer all different kinds of traineeships, from completely unpaid volunteer work with some training to paid positions.
Rather than trying to convince your Dad, you might be better off getting a temporary job and saving up to pay for your PDC yourself...
04-11-2006, 01:53 PM
I was hoping to engage in a deferal job which which would enable growth and education, not merely fulfilling mindnumbing task. This I hope to find in Permaculture as it provides the option of continuing within the industry, or maintaining self-sustainable practices, even when not working as a "Permaculture Designer".
The other thing which draws me to permaculture is the universal application it has. Where as other jobs only have specific uses, permaculture can be applied in Colombo, Cooper Pedy, or Coburg. Hence to learn the pratices thoroughly would bring great rewards for myself, whichever society I find myself in, and this wondorous supporting system known as the earth.
I don't know specifically which traineeship you are referring to...
What does the actualisation of this look like? Is it voluntary or waged? Are you mentored or self-guided? How do you go about setting up such a relationship?
Rather than trying to convince your Dad, you might be better off getting a temporary job and saving up to pay for your PDC yourself...
Thankyou for the idea Richard, but I have already met it to some degree. My father was only going to provide a short term loan. I only work a part-time job and due to driving lessons and other endeavours draining my savings I am low on surplus resources.
Richard on Maui
05-11-2006, 04:22 AM
Oh okay, you are talking about the Permaculture Institute's process for getting the Diploma...
No, there is no organisation that I know of that is going to pay you to be a trainee Permaculture designer for 2 years.
The idea is that you get out there, identify situations that can be improved by Permaculture designs, do the designs, implement them, record your progress, after 2 years submit your work and an admin fee to the Institute who then give you a "diploma". Who the diploma is supposed to impress I don't know.
It is quite possible that if you are good at doing Permaculture that you can find a niche where someone will pay you, but if that is your prime motivator you will probably go astray. (just my observation)
Look, if you want my advice, beg, borrow or steal the money to do a PDC, (maybe you can arrange to do some "work trade" for part or all of the fee) and get a wwoof book. Go visit some Permaculture farms and give your all to help the people who graciously accomodate you and feed you while you learn by doing.
Expect to do lots of repetititve, "mind numbing" labour. That is half the fun. Growing food is fun, but it involves lots of repetitive, "mind numbing" tasks along the way.
07-11-2006, 07:41 PM
...prime motivator you will probably go astray
Unforntunately the reason that I look at permaculture in such light is in need to appease my father's expectations of me. Unfortunately I, like many before me, have come in opposition to my father, due to seeing purposes of things in different light. My father looks at something and evaluates its use in time dedication by whether it provides short term capital, or greater access to capital later on. Myself, I see it whether it provides benefit to the community, allows me greater opportunity to learn about myself and my surroundings, and if it treats the environment with rightful respect.
I am looking to gain fulltime employment and hope to gain a position which fulfils my desires of life. Unfortunately my father only sees the employment opportunities and the dollar value in things.
A few weeks ago I enquired about a sign in the window of the local Westpac branch, after going home and telling my father, I was met with a great deal of encouragement and support. I later chose to turn it down, as, although they are a highly ethical company compared to the industry, purely financial work isn't my fortey (sorry unsure of spelling).
Then I began reading about permaculture and saw potential in it. Initially my father said he would not support such a foolish waste of time. Luckily he came round and appeared to soften a bit, but maintaining his right wing perspective, saying he would support it only if I could guarantee a job upon completion of the course. Seeing that this may not be possible my back-up job is general horticulture and landscaping, leaving time to tinker with permaculture.
Hopefully I can gain a grasp of permaculture so as to help transform myself, my society, and the world's impact on the earth.
get a wwoof book
Wwoofing is something I am keen to do, but due to commitments unable to engage in pleasures of yet. One of the main reasons I am defering for employment, is if I were to return to study next year I would have to severe ties with the community for those of with books and class. Many of the community groups that I have immersed myself within would be left fragile by my absence. The local market, and some church auxilaries are dependent in mine, or someone else fulfilling my role, to operate succefully. Thanks for the suggestions though, and hopefully I can endeavour to do it someday.
Expect to do lots of repetititve, "mind numbing" labour.
I definitely don't mind getting my hands dirty and putting in the hard yards. I hope to defer study and get a job which is deeply fulfilling in many ways, not just financial. I hope to work for someone who strives for the same of his job. I don't want to spend my days fulfilling the role as a machine extension, pumping in the plastic, while my employer sits in his ivory tower chair watching the coins fill in to his evergrowing pockets. "Shrouds have no pockets" and meaning and purpose is the greatest reward in life I seek.
An example of "mind numbing tasks" was the shortcuts I had to take to get my garden planted in time. My father initially only let me have about 6 sqm of land for a garden. These I left for the "time intensive" natural preparation process to take course. Later I prized more out of him. Resulting in me spending last Saturday swinging the maddock, ripping up lawn, then having to spend hours sieving the grass of the beautiful top soil that remained.
If you have any ideas of what I could do for a job for the next year to two years I'd be definitely keen to hear any suggestions.
Thankyou all for your support and replies. I have spent countless hours reading the archived posts recently and have found deep insight and inspiration from it's contents.
PS: How do you directly quote (i.e. make it appear "Wayne said...." rather than just "quote")?
20-11-2006, 02:49 PM
I wanted to reply to your post to urge you that you don't have to follow your parent's view of what getting a good job means.
I have struggled with my parent's expectations somewhat. I have come from a family which gardened alot and values growing things, yet when I chose to study horticulture at uni, they thought I was wasting my talents, because I could have gotten into better respected/better paying courses. So when I decided to drop out two years later because I was so disillusioned about the problems we create through conventional farming, my parents were even more disappointed in me, that I was wasting my life.
I returned to study again two years ago, after taking a few years and working. My father told me a few weeks ago that he was disappointed in me, that I had wasted my talents and that I could have made something with my life, but I still haven't finished studying and haven't taken a clear career-leading-to course to study. Its really hard when your parents make you feel guilty for things you believe in, life-choices that aren’t the “successful” way to go. I feel like I want my parents to be proud of me, to not see me as wasting my life, but in the end I have to be sincere to my own ideology rather than theirs.
I think the important thing to encourage you is to try not to think of how you can get a great career path to satisfy your father. You probably wont be able to find one that will enable you to have integrity about your ideals and will also be good enough by your father's expectations. It will lead to you splitting yourself too much, and your father's ideology will probably win in the end as you strive in your "good job" and try to satisfy your ideals in your spare time.
[father] would support it only if I could guarantee a job upon completion of the course. Seeing that this may not be possible, my back-up job is general horticulture and landscaping, leaving time to tinker with permaculture
its hard to just "tinker" with permaculture in your spare time, while getting a "proper job," the more I learn about permaculture, the more it feels like a whole way of life. When I worked full time at a proper job (in the same company as my father) for two years, I really felt like I existed just to work. I came home and rested in order to be able to work the next day, and on the weekends I was so tired from the week. I feel like aiming to satisfy your father will mean you lose your own integrity to your own ideals.
I want to encourage you to do something like Wwoofing. You learn permaculture by working, and are fed and housed, so you don’t need to have a “proper job.” In my opinion that would be a great way to spend some time that you are taking off from study.
Many of the community groups that I have immersed myself within would be left fragile by my absence. It’s important to try to set up things that are sustainable in the community groups. Are there ways that you can make them less reliant on you, so that all people involved can take responsibly and grow the group? If you have groups that require one leader, they will always be fragile, even if you are there. And if you don’t want them to fall apart, you will never be able to leave.
I hope you find ways through these tough decisions about getting a “proper job.”
21-11-2006, 01:42 PM
Wow... takes me back.... although my parents were less aggressive sounding, I was still just as wound up about trying to find something meaningful to do with myself and my ideals... if fact 21 years later I still am. :)
I didn't do as much WWOOF meandering, and I now focussed on making time for family while paying off property, I wish I had done more -- always the future... maybe when my kid starts searching I'll tag along and bug her.
I was unsatisfied with commercial landscaping, but I learned some good things and it drove me forward, and it taught me a lot about my people and their relationship to the land, and allowed me to assess some potential business models.
Working for profit taught me valuable lessons in knowning and setting boundaries, driving a deal (asking and receiving fair compensation), and self discipline (starting to sound like your father?). Perhaps I lack imagination (never trust anyone over 30) but I suspect that even when the revolution comes (or doesn't) there will still be business to attend to.
Ivory tower pocket fondlers can be better bosses then whip cracking penny grubbers with their own set of keys. Looking for mentorship is a hard and worthy road, keep your eyes and heart open, and be looking for learning in ALL places. There are people scratching their heads asking questions at every level of this house of cards.
If you are interested in transformation of self than the pure road of the aescetic may work as long as you don't mind the risks. If you are interested in transformation of our society, than I suspect you'll end up walking in many shoes, learning many tounges, and trying out many paths. Given you ideals -- I would hope that you gather your personal capital broadly so I can have a strong ally. (i.e. gather everything, don't burn bridges). Life can be like a permaculture design... assess resources, intercept flows, make beneficial connections, create positive feebacks, work with what we've got.
Be kind and loving to your father as you explore, even though he is so familiar, you may only know a small part of him and the burdens he carries. Blood runs deep. Just as it is easy to bend under his experienced will, it is easy to tell him to blow off -- harder to be compasionate.
21-11-2006, 02:16 PM
Can I just say, go for it now while you can. I am only 28 but I am now a fulltime mum and I wish I had known about permaculture when I was unfettered by family responsibilities. (Of course the fact that my daughter has been the catalyst for all this change in me is beside the point :)).
I know how hard it can be when you have conservative parents and you are not. I have struggled with the difference between my parents and myself. Now I have come to the decision I just don't care what they think. Can I ask how old you are? I know when I was younger I really cared what they thought, and it prevented me from doing a lot of the things I am gearing up to do now.
Your community groups obviously mean a lot to you and that is commendable :). You sound like you have a conscience and that seems to be rare among younger people these days unfortunately. However I'm sure your groups would not wish to hold you back from something so self-fulfilling. I agree with what someone else said about restructuring or looking at ways to reduce their dependence on you. A good community group should be able to stand on its own you know?
23-11-2006, 12:50 PM
Hi fellow permies,
I read through all the posts in this topic and thought I would add a few comments for further thoughts.
For many years I felt like a failure & had very poor self esteem. I made some very poor decisions & formed some truly awful relationships because of it. I felt that I was a continual disappointment to my mother (my dad's long gone from our lives) because my siblings are all successful, focussed & wealthy (relatively speaking) in their careers & personal life. I'm just a poor pathetic sole parent who never completes anything, or has a great job or a good income..... at least that's how I used to look at my life. It's no good trying to live up to somebody else' expectations. It will contribute to your own negative self image which is probably completely out of proportion to reality. The most wonderful, clever & accomplished person I ever knew hated herself, felt a complete failure. She would go through a process of self abuse, flagellating herself with an imaginary whip everytime she was frustrated by issues in her life. Yet, those of us who knew her admired her greatly and could never understand how she couldn't see all the wonderful qualitilies & generosity she had. My point is we rarely see ourselves as others see us. For happiness & fulfillment in life we need to live true to ourselves, to our ethical beliefs. Permaculture is founded upon basic ethics: care of Earth, care of people, sharing surplus. Permaculture effuses all aspects of life & living if you want it to and bring it into your thinking about all things.
Why measure success in dollars & cents? Personally, I think this is not a true measure of success but if it will make you more happy or appease the percieved expectations from your family then learn some wealth creation skills. There are some excellent books on the subject which all come back to some basic universal principles. Interestingly many of the principles of wealth creation are paralleled by Permaculture principles. Read them & you'll see what I mean. I can recommend: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Classon (this text can be downloaded free), Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and The One Minute Millionaire. You will find these books all very readable and largely reinforcing the same principles.
Using what you learn from these texts & Permaculture I'm sure you will create a lifestyle which will be satisfying for yourself & make your father proud of your success in any measure. My guess is they will love you and support you (one way or another) even when you make some stupid decisions. They've probably made a few themselves.
The community groups you are working with will stand or fall with or without you. Such is the nature of community groups. Did they exist before you joined in? You alone are not a group. Every group has cycles of evolution within its existence so don't worry about it not surviving with out you. Sometimes even the seemingly most indespensible person can be replaced. Use your experience with such groups to help enrich & educate yourself & others but don't use it as an excuse for not getting into something else which interests you. WWOOFing & travel in general offers a wealth of experience & education unparalleled by formality. Some of the most successful people in the world have barely finished high school so obviously formal education doesn't necessarily count for much.
Get involved with permaculture groups/activities whenever you can because the nicest people find their way to it and you're bound to learn heaps, find mentors, make useful contacts and live well because of it.
Another worthwhile exercise I can recommend for helping to find the direction in life you will most likely succeed from is this: spend some time thinking about words which when you hear them make you really take interest. For example if you were to overhear the conversation of strangers and your trigger word was heard you would tune into the conversation. Come up with a list of about 10. Then think some more on these words. Why do they excite your interest? What makes it stir your passions? Spend some time putting these words into a short paragraph to become like a personal mission statement. Find or create a career around this and you will become successful in every way.
When I finally realised that I am living my life as I wish, achieving my own successes and stopped measuring my self worth by what I percieved others expected, I realised great joy & contentment. Now, I usually make better decisions and when I do something stupid I give thanks for the lessons learned and move on.
Peace, Love & Happiness for all,
03-12-2006, 10:06 PM
I noticed that you live in Bayswater... get involved with Permaculture Melbourne Inc. and contact your local group, Mountain Districts Permaculture. You'll find heaps of help there... and maybe even some paid work/traineeship. Talk with Peter Allen.
Also, Permaforest Trust runs cert 4 and diploma in Permaculture, in which you can stay there and Austudy will cover the cost of your course. Once you finish that, there's plenty of places that you'll be able to do work at.
"Dalpura" (near Moriac) is one that needs help. Best to contact Darren Doherty about that, or the owner, George Howson.
There's plenty of opportunities and work within permaculture. There's also plenty of professional organisations in which you could get work at. It all depends on what area you wish to focus on... it's best to focus on and specialise in a certain area and cultivate skills in that area... as permaculture covers so much. For instance, Ringo (I hope he doesn't mind me using him as an example) has skills in earthmoving, after doing cert4 at Permaforest Trust, he then got some earthmoving work on permaculture projects, here and overseas. He then did the APT COW and CALF, did some work at "Dalpura", linked up with Daz, and now is teaching about earthmoving work in PDCs all over the place.
Good people to also connect with are Rick & Naomi Coleman, down in south Gippsland... Rick often has permaculture projects overseas, usually they are paid work that need more permie graduates to help out on.
Geoff Lawton is also a good contact for overseas permaculture work, especially if you're looking at dryland permaculture.
If you're ever thinking of moving to southwest Victoria, especially the Otways area, contact me... I facillitate permaculture in SW Vic. and the Otways & Coast Permaculture Group. No overseas work contact here, but potentially lots of local & regional work... I'm working to make that happen here!
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