Building the permaculture way: self reliant for most building components

Permaculture Life Skills Internship Curriculum

Permaculture Life Skills Internship Curriculum

Introduction to Permaculture courseIt is with great pleasure that we announce our internship curriculum! We feel that we have included the most important subjects that people need to know in order to start living sustainably and more self reliant. We are very excited about having two wonderful teachers coming to teach two of our specialist courses, these courses are also accessible for non-interns. Interns will need a PDC to do the internship, people just attending our specialist courses do not need to have a PDC.

We have modeled our internship after the internship that is run at the Permaculture Research Institute Australia, with a few changes of course, to include our talents. The curriculum for the internship is flexible, to allow for change as the property changes and new knowledge is gained. This is the curriculum for our next Internship (subject to change):

Week 1: Introduction to farm methods and routines, orientation

This is an orientation week so interns get a feel for the flow on the farm and the routines that are so important, particularly in relation to the farm animals. Interns will be responsible for their own hot water and compost toilets, and they will learn about personal responsibility and housekeeping, to name but a few.

Week 2: Specialist course: Self reliance with Tom and Zaia Kendall

Tom Kendall grew up on a farm in remote WA, where he was taught from a very early age to be responsible and to use available local resources to create or fix things that were needed. He needed to know about engines, plumbing, building, welding, fencing, wood chopping and too many others to mention. This course will give interns and non-interns an idea about self reliance skills, including but not limited to bush mechanics, fencing, wood sawing and chopping, using scrap material to create needed items etc. Zaia Kendall will show how to preserve food, make butter and yoghurt, make sour dough bread and a number of other culinary pursuits.

Week 3: Farm methods and routines, gardening, propagation, food forestry

A continuation of week 1, interns get to live with and learn about the methods and routines on the farm. In addition to that, they will be introduced to hands-on gardening, plant propagation and get to move a chook tractor and take part in planting out part of the food forest. Ongoing building projects may also be  continued.

Week 4: Specialist course: Earthworks with Tom Kendall

Dams, swales and other earthworks are discussed. Contour, conveyancing and tools for design are discussed and shown. The students will be taken through the planning and design of a swale and/or dam and the earthworks (digging of the swale and/or dam) will be done in that week. After earthworks are completed, soil repair will be discussed and undertaken.

Week 5: Farm methods and routines, soil building, composting and worm farms

A continuation of week 1 and 3, interns will also learn more about soil building, composting and worm farms by having hands on experience. They will see and get to work with different soils. Ongoing building projects may also be continued.

Week 6: Specialist course: Sustainable Soils Management with Paul Taylor

We are very excited to have Paul Taylor, the main teacher of our ‘How to Make Your Own Natural Fertilizer’ biological soil science course here to teach the Sustainable Soils Management course. He is the managing director of Trust Nature Pty Ltd and has been working as a recognized educator and sustainable design consultant for the past 30 years. Paul has Australian Federal Government FarmReady approval as an educator, is a recognized Permaculture Teacher and organic soil management specialist and has completed his Certificate IV in Education, Training and Assessment. One of his specialist areas of education and training is organic and biological gardening and farming. This includes making Bio-Vital™ regenerative compost from farm and community waste, designed to regenerate degraded land and help communities to ‘grow food for free’. Please see for more information.

Week 7: Farm methods and routines, animal care, garden maintenance

A continuation on week 1, 3 and 5, this week builds interns’ confidence in looking after animals, importance of routine for animals and continues the teachings in the garden. Ongoing building projects may also be continued.

Week 8: Specialist course: Building Methods with Tom Kendall

Students will learn different building methods to work with locally available materials. Possible included materials are local rock, secondhand or local timbers, sand, clay and possible other materials in the future. Methods of design are discussed as to purpose of the building and how it is sited. Also effects on the surrounding land is discussed and methods of relieving possible issues, eg drainage.

Week 9: Specialist course: Urban Permaculture with Tim Lang

Students will learn about growing an abundance in small spaces and how to design for an urban space. Tim Lang is a Certificate IV qualified permaculture teacher. He taught at Northey Street Farm in Brisbane and we were lucky that he moved to nearby Cooran, where he lives on an urban permaculture block with his family. At this Urban Permaculture Course you will come away with a tool box of strategies and tools to transform your available space into a productive, organic and sustainable eden.

Week 10: Farm methods and routines, last week requests

The last week for interns to immerse themselves into the routines on the farm. Any questions that have come up through the internship will be discussed and answered where possible.

The interns have all the specialist courses included in the price for the internship (total price for the 10 week internship is $4750). The price for non-interns to attend specialist courses is $795,  which includes food and tent accommodation (tent to be provided by student). Limited cabin accommodation is available at $30 per night, and backpacker type shared accommodation is also available at $10 per night.

We cannot wait to have our first 10 week internship here on the property, we are looking forward to empowering our interns to become the change they wish to see in the world!

©2012 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – Permaculture Internships: Curriculum for 10 week Permaculture Life Skills Internship


  1. Hey there, just wondering where I could find more information regarding the 10 week internship, and if there is one running for next year??


    1. Hi Emily,
      The 10 week internship has become the Practical Life Skills Training course. It is now available in 4 week blocks. An 8 week block is recommended if possible, we offer 2 x 8 week blocks in 2016, in February/March and in July/August. Please email me on info (at) if you need further information. Thanks for your interest!
      Warm regards,

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