Mentoring and Apprenticeship

Mentoring with Rhonda (and other team members)


I'm glad you are considering an apprenticeship

Following up on your permaculture design course education with guidance and support is a great way to learn, explore, and find your way forward. 

I feel fortunate to have had an apprenticeship in education and practical work in site design and implementation after my own permaculture design course in 2005. In the years since then, I've learned a lot about mentoring and advising from people who are excellent at drawing out a person's personal gifts, dreams and passions. For this reason, I love to mentor and support other learners. 

Be warned: An apprenticeship with Sheltering Hills Design is NOT one size fits all. It will require you to think, understand yourself better, and explore your edges diligently. Along the way, we believe you will become clearer about what you want and how you want to get there. 

I look forward to meeting up with you and beginning this conversation.

- Rhonda Baird

tree planting in Indy

Steps to begin

Step 1: Apply

Follow the form on this page or this link to apply for a formal mentoring or apprenticeship agreement. Please think carefully about the commitment when you apply.

Step 2: Interview

After you apply, we will sit down together to see how an apprenticeship might work for both of us and if we are a good fit. 

Step 3: Draw up an Agreement

After we've had time to reflect on our conversation, we will set up agreements about how we would like to work together including: what activities we will focus on, how long the apprenticeship will last, when we will evaluate the apprenticeship, and what next steps would look like. 

Step 4: Evaluate and Celebrate

When we reach the time for us to evaluate the experience, we will do a review and look at whether we wish to extend the apprenticeship and what next steps will look like. 


  • Common Experiences

  • Experience & Accreditation

  • Privacy & Policy

Kinds of activities

Since mentoring and apprenticeship are about your unique learning journey, there is no one-size fits all solution. We talk about what you are interested in learning and exploring and match that with experiences and practices that fit our work. 

Common activities:

  • Working in the garden/forest garden
  • Working with research and design on projects
  • Supporting outreach and education projects
  • Learning to facilitate groups
  • Entrepreneurial skills and thinking
  • Nature Connection skills

Is this paid?

Probably not from the beginning. In fact, Rhonda is often paid as an advisor and that might be appropriate in some situations. If there is opportunity for paid work along the way, we can income-share as part of our agreement after an initial period of learning.

What is an appropriate length of time?

For most apprenticeships, we work in three month increments and review our agreement at that time. This is long enough for a cycle to fit into a semester, over a summer, or into a part of a growing season. 

Mentoring and apprenticeship are time intensive on our part. We will determine how many hours per week make sense given your circumstances, but it may only be a few hours per week. 

Have more questions regarding apprenticeship?

Our apprenticeships open in January and August each year. We look forward to exploring the possibility with you, but if you have more questions, no problem. 

potted plant