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Apprenticeship and the diploma


As a group and individually, members of the Institute have a keen interest in the diploma as a recognition of competence in the practice of permaculture design. It is perhaps indicative of our innate professionalism as a group that we don’t seek to profit financially from our apprentices. They are the future, and we look to them for practical support with our work. We treat them as producers, rather than consumers. The diploma is our recognition of the ability to work well independently as a permaculture designer.


As structured, the Institute constitutes an effective support body for apprenticeship and hence the diploma process. Our organisation could be mirrored by other groups across the UK and Europe. It works on the strengths of the practitioners committed to it, without burdening any one individual above or beyond the more rewarding aspects of apprentice support. It has a natural relationship with other organisations in seeing where its strength lies, and what it can effectively contribute to supporting apprenticeship and the diploma process.


The Institute has a continuity of participants who comprise people with design practice and diploma experience. Thus our structure, and our intention to maintain such a structure of experience, provides a very necessary complement to the Permaculture Association (Britain) and similar regional bodies across Europe.


A few of us “old faces” can trace a link back to the diploma pioneers, we can call upon them if needed. Then there is the highly valuable experience of the recent generation of diplomates, perhaps operating now in a much more fertile ground for design services than we did 10-15 years ago. All our experience counts and should be added to, where there are active diplomates elsewhere in the UK and beyond. We accept accountability, we hold our collective hands up to external enquiries as to the merits of our membership, and we will report to stakeholders on our standards.


Standards will rise if there is a commitment to dialogue amongst diplomates delivering diploma support and accreditation. Informal discussions can become part of a more formal process. It must be stressed that the credibility of the diploma, and perhaps Permaculture in the mainstream as well, will be greatly enhanced by the experience of those who have been active in delivering design services and implementation since becoming a diplomate. It is not beyond active diplomates to thus devise an arena and process for this to take place.


More about the diploma