Is your Permaculture Teacher recommended?
This is always a great way to source good teachers - word of mouth recommendations are worth gold to the teacher and the student.
How experienced is the teacher?
Great teachers do not necessarily make great marketers so do your homework and check out the teacher. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because they have the glossy brochure and extensive website they are good teachers.
How long have they been teaching?
Is this the first time they have taught a Permaculture Design Certificate course? Not a problem if it is the first time, just make sure you know.
Will your teacher offer any 'back-up' service for questions or queries after the course?
I know here in Australia, with other methodologies, many people attend courses ran by foreigners then expect local companies to offer the ‘after sales service’ for free!
Always consider your local teacher first as they know your environment, your culture, they are aware of your local concerns, growing conditions etc.
Does your teacher have any International Permaculture Aid experience?
Not necessary for them to have this but it does make for interesting stories and enriches your training.
Will your teacher be bringing in guest speakers, and if so, who will they be?
This will give you more idea on the ‘style’ of the teacher. Ask if the teacher advertised on the brochure is the principal teacher and if so, what percentage of the training will they deliver.(In other methodologies I have experienced the training being primarily run by assistants with the main trainer only being the equivalent of a guest speaker.)Make sure you are getting ‘who’ you are paying for.
Talk with the educator over the phone, read their brochures and website, try to get a ‘feel’ for WHO they are, meet with them if you can. Perhaps they have ‘Open Days’ on their property so you can see for yourself the extent of their work. Ask around as others may have recommendations that appeal to you.
Ultimately you have to decide if the Permaculture Design Certificate course is for you, only you can make this decision. The following may help.
Why are your considering doing it in the first place? Have you really thought about that?
Is the course going to offer you the benefits that you really require? Do you have reasonable expectations to begin with? Often people don’t.
Is it going to be affordable for you, both in money and time.
Sometimes it may be best to just wait until the timing is right and not strain the budget or your timing schedule. Will the teacher offer a part or full work exchange or trade? Often they do and that may help reduce the financial cost to you. For those in full employment remember it’s not just the price of the course it’s also the cost of two weeks not working while you’re away from work attending the course.
Do you need to do the full course, or would a short course be just as beneficial for your needs?
There are a lot of shorter courses around ran by Permaculture graduates. These can be for a specific topic such as making a No Dig Garden. Check out these and see if they have a range of courses or products available for your areas of interest.
Will you go on site visits to other properties during the training?
I found these to be fantastic and cannot imagine any Permaculture course without them.
How much are they charging for the course?
I am always suspicious of courses that fall too far outside the normal market price range. I only pay more than the norm if the teacher is exceptional. I am very cautious of trainings that are much cheaper than the norm.Will any of the content be superfluous to your requirements?
At the time of doing my PDC some of the content was in excess of my requirements. E.g. aquaculture, rural design, dams etc, but most of it was relevant to my urban dwelling and lifestyle.