Collaborating for growth – now and into the future
We need our horticulture industry, along with all primary industries, to grow so New Zealand can grow. For Primary ITO it starts here, now, growing smart, tech savvy, ambitious and innovative people.
The government has set an ambitious target for the primary industries – doubling the value of our primary sector exports by 2025. In order to achieve this, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have estimated that we will need an extra 50,000 qualified workers in the primary sector in the next eight years.
Employment growth forecasts indicate that there will be small-to-modest growth in the traditional jobs in the primary sector. This means that much of the forecast growth will need to come from highly qualified professional services – including science, engineering, technology and management.
So, whilst the 50,000 figure allows for attrition of exiting workers - plus upskilling 42,700 existing workers (who do not hold a post-school qualification) – it will also require increasing the uptake of qualifications, particularly apprenticeships at Level 4 and above.
I joined Primary ITO in May 2017 as a national sector manager to bring focus to supporting the recruitment and training needs of the horticulture and viticulture sectors now, and into the future.
One of my first priorities has been to develop specific tools for each group within the sector. In the first instance this will mean working with our industry partnership groups and sector businesses to develop career progression pathways. These pathways will provide clear and consistent role expectations for employers and potential employees in the main industry roles.
Each career progression pathway describes the experience, level of supervision, skills, knowledge and attributes expected in the key areas of the business - along with opportunities for Primary ITO training in each role. The goal is to have these developed into posters for use at school careers events, on the walls of career guidance offices and used as the basis for growing businesses to map their staff against specific training opportunities.
We are also working to build a portfolio of success stories from employers and trainees, highlighting the impact that Primary ITO training has had on their business and on the individuals career development. Once finalised, these could be used within the recruitment process by both employers and industry groups.
In the near future, Primary ITO will also be holding workshops in the key horticulture growing regions of Northland and South Auckland/ Waikato to follow-up with growers on their views expressed at recent industry conferences. The workshops will work with employers to put plans in place to leverage off existing initiatives to face challenges around staff attraction, retention and training. If you would like to be involved in these workshops, please contact me on kate.longman@primaryito. ac.nz or 029 770 9874. Primary ITO is committed to working together with industry to attract new talent, and helping them to develop the skills they need for both individual and business success.