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Jane Cottee - Horticulture

Jane Cottee
Jane Cottee, Teacher


I am the Education Manager and Course Coordinator for horticulture, floristry, arboriculture, conservation and land management courses at CIT.


  • Bachelor of Community Education - University of Canberra
  • Certificate III in Horticulture - Canberra Institute of Technology

Industry experience

  • I worked for 12 years in a local retail nursery and have also spent several years in research nurseries and other gardening positions.
  • I have been teaching for almost two decades, having taught a range of horticultural subjects at CIT for 18 years before becoming an Education Manager.

How I've improved training for students and industry

I have a retail background and as a result I coordinate an annual spring plant sale which sees plants grown throughout the year being sold to the public at very reasonable prices. Students run the sale and this gives them exposure to real customers and clients and requires them to demonstrate good customer service skills, improve their communication and problem solving skills by recommending appropriate products and gives them exposure to the financial components of horticulture which are critical.

I managed the relocation of CIT's horticulture facilities from the old Weston Campus to a new area at Bruce campus. I decided to make the entire move into a student project, and got horticulture students involved in all aspects including digging up and relocating all the plants, storing them appropriately, helping with the new planting design and transplanting them into their new environment. This gave the students many useful real life skills they will need once they are working.

I developed a partnership with the Australian Federal Police that has seen students involved in tree planting at the AFP site at Majura. Certificate II and III in Conservation and Land Management students propagated and planted one hundred native trees to celebrate 2011 being the United Nationals Year of the Forests.

Customised training for industry

I have arranged customised training for:

  • Conservation Volunteers Australia for the delivery of Conservation and Land Management training units. Units were customised to suit students working on site at Tidbinbilla Nature reserve and they completed these units by including work based projects as assessment items
  • Certificate II in Parks and Gardens for the Karalika Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre, with the aim of giving valuable life skills to residents. Up to 20  students attended CIT one day a week and this provided a valuable social context for them. They used their own gardens at Karalika to assist in acquiring horticultural knowledge that would assist in gaining employment and providing a general feeling of well-being.
  • Certificate II in Parks and Gardens to the groundskeepers at the Australian Defence Force Academy (Duntroon).This program was tailored to grounds staff and delivered on site at the Defence Academy. Students were accelerated through the course as they already held many of the competencies and could be assessed doing their daily tasks.

Other industry connections

I coordinate the involvement of horticulture and floristry students in Floriade, where CIT students are always very active. Students create displays, grow plants for specialist gardens , enter work into competitions and are responsible for a large-scale display at the Canberra Centre each year. By facilitating this work I am hoping to provide the most hands-on and practical experiences for students, properly preparing them for work after study.

I am part of ongoing activities with Greening Australia and participate in activities  such as mass tree plantings for International Tree Day. I strongly encourage all CIT students to volunteer to gain experience and expertise in the industry.

Professional memberships and associations

  • I am a member of the National TAFE Network of Horticulture Providers.