Course: Orchard Management Certificate

The Orchard Project

September 2024 - June 2025

Cost: Free - £1,150

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, conservation & wildlife

Our Community Orcharding Certificate (CICO) is a unique course that combines high quality online learning with 7 action-packed, face-to-face training days. You will learn from orchard experts at a range of projects in North East London and top up your learning at home with over 100 online resources.

The Level 3 course is accredited by Crossfields Institute and involves some homework. We’ve been running CICO courses since 2017 and they’ve been hugely successful, with over 200 students becoming qualified orchardists. This course will be known as CICO14!

What can I gain from this course?

Many of our students already work or would like to work in the horticultural sector in roles such as rangers, community garden managers or horticultural therapists. Not only will this course give you skills and experience needed to help you progress, but you’ll also benefit from being part of our inclusive orcharding network.

“I’m excited that the training days incorporate visits to BPOC led gardens, and I also really appreciate that the pace of the course will allow me to continue working, looking for gardening jobs, and study the online materials for deeper learning.” Naomi

Taking the [CICO] course helped me out professionally…After finishing the course, I obtained a job as an Estate Worker in a Hertfordshire park…Being able to talk about the course helped me out in the interview.” Gora

I have done some marking for The Orchard Project and also have a client booked in to prune their fruit tree. Found BOTH these opportunities through The Orchard Project.” Mirjam

I’m now a project manager at a Forest Garden and I could not have got this job without my CICO experience.” Bethany

This is the best course I’ve ever done!” Franki

The course covers:

  • Veteran tree care
  • Tree identification, physiology and taxonomy
  • Tree planting, pruning and grafting
  • Soil science and fertility
  • Apple identification
  • Managing the groups caring for orchards
  • Holistic orchard management, including biodiversity, pests, & disease

What to expect

Face-to-face elements

You must attend all the face-to-face training days to be able to gain the Certificate. These take place on Saturdays, 10:00-16:00, and are held at various locations:

  • Sat 5th Oct – Orchard Intro – TBC
  • Sat 9th Nov – Soil – Stepney City Farm, Tower Hamlets
  • Sat 30th Nov – Groups – Stepney City Farm, Tower Hamlets
  • Sat 18th Jan – Planting & Pruning – Edible Landscapes London, Haringey
  • Sat 15th Feb – Veteran Tree Care – Dick Turpin Orchard, Redbridge
  • Sat 22nd Mar -Grafting and Care Plans – Castle Climbing Centre, Hackney
  • Sat 24th May – Biodiversity – TBC

Online elements

45 films and PowerPoints (with subtitles), 26 interactive quizzes and 33 downloadable PDFs. The training platform will be available a few days before the course starts and for a year after it finishes. All of our resources are unique and produced by us or with expert guests.

To introduce this and for a course overview, you should attend one of these Zoom meetings:

  • Wed 4th Sep, 16:00-17:30 – introductory Zoom OR
  • Sun 8th Sep, 18:00-19:30 – introductory Zoom


To support the online materials and the face-to-face training, you’ll have access to our friendly tutors and of course, your fellow students. This will help you stay on top of the work, which includes 13 pieces of homework and seven assessed quizzes. On average you can expect a couple of pieces of homework a month and will need to allow about 2 hours a week to complete it.

Your practical skills will be assessed on the face-to-face training days. Please note it’s similar to doing an A level but we can be flexible; if the accreditation is not for you, you can attend without being assessed for the Certificate.


  • FREE* (8 places) access to full course with or without accreditation – see eligibility to apply criteria below
  • £1,150 (general, max 7) – full course & accreditation (payment by instalments available)
  • £840 (concessionary, max 2) – full course & accreditation (payment by instalments available)
  • £840 (unaccredited, max 2) – full course without accreditation (payment by instalments available)
  • £400 (materials only x 2) – access to online learning materials and course book only

*FREE City Bridge Trust places x 8. Deadline to apply Sunday 16th June 2024. These 8 places are sponsored by City Bridge Trust and are open to people who must be unemployed, economically inactive or on low income (below £20,000 p.a) and living in London. Once you have applied for one of the free places we will assess your application and prioritise people who are also from a minoritised group and/or aged 18-30. To apply, select the ‘Free CBT’ ticket and fill out the booking form. The deadline for applications is midnight on Sun 16th June and we’ll let you know if you have been successful by Tue 18th June.

Concessionary places: For those who are unemployed, economically inactive or on low income (below £20,000 p.a.).

Pay-by-instalments: If you wish to pay-by-instalments please contact [email protected] prior to booking this ticket. The full cost of the course is £1,150 and you need to pay an initial deposit of £190 then set up a monthly standing order for £120 starting in Aug and ending in Mar 2025 (£120 x 8). For concessionary and unaccredited tickets, you will pay an initial £120 and then £90 for 8 months.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any other queries.

External links for financial support:

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