Work-Learn Exchange Program

Our Work-Learn Exchange Program is for regional residents (or those who can stay nearby).

Joy_Of_Understanding_Permaculture_VisionsOver the past 20 years we have been able to offer work-learn exchange opportunities to local and international people. We do not actively advertise this program because we only have one or two people in the program at any one time and the program may run for up to 3 months per person. Please note: we do not have accommodation facilities or meals.

The Advantages for the Student-Worker:

To be able to pay for the course with work instead of dollars. ( The course is a large sum for many people).

To learn practical skills to complement the philosophy of permaculture. Skills include: how to make a no-dig garden, pruning, grafting, seed selection ‘weed’ management, animal husbandry, water management, making new plants from established plants.

To be able to discuss issues with your tutor.

To interact with the tutor, helpers and other villagers. Learning the value and challenges of village living.

You are supplied with the course notes access online, insurance, tools and equipment.

James Hill teaching us to make the steel-fibre pond using strawbales as formwork.

You can take home some of the produce (cuttings, herbs, eggs, vegetables or plants) when they are available (usually in spring and summer).

The Advantages for

To get direct and honest feedback from students

To be able to pay for work by direct exchange. would need to earn $15 in order to pay $10 of labour, $15 income after GST, annual tax, book-keeping (labour, software and accounting fees) would be less than $10.

The days that suit us best are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and some Fridays

Hours are 10.00 am to 2pm or earlier (the bus leaves at 1pm)

Transport: You can catch the train to Unanderra with your bicycle then ride up the hill to Mt Kembla.  Please be aware that the road can be dangerous at times but is currently under construction and traffic is slower.  You need to ride with caution. There are busy trucks and cars around 8.30- 9am. It is safer to ride between 10am-2pm. You can catch the train to Unanderra (south of Wollongong, on the south coast railway line from Sydney) then catch the no.36 bus (the premier timetable can be viewed online at
Be sure to find the correct bus-stop at either 100m north of Unanderra station on princes highway or around the corner to the south-west, 20m west on Tannery st, just west of Sub-way store, NOT just south of the station (that bus-stop goes to the south) your bus will swing around to the west.  Alternatively you can catch a taxi from south side of Woolworths Supermarket in Unanderra (this would be cheaper than hiring a car). We are located 60m South of the pub in Mt Kembla.

How many hours do students do? If a student wishes to study for the Permaculture Design Course which currently costs $620, then it would be great if they did about 25 hours permaculture work. (Calculating their hourly rate at about roughly $25/hour after tax). If you wish to do the introductory course, then it the investment is just 5 hours work.

What do I Bring? please bring gloves, sturdy clothes and boots, (a change of clothes in case you get muddy) sun protection and your lunch. We supply tools.

To arrange to start this program: please contact us via the contacts page.