Under the Mikeroscope
Training for our future
Overseeing this is the Horticulture Capability Group (HCG), made up of representatives from New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, New Zealand Apples & Pears, NZ Avocado Growers Association, Vegetables New Zealand, the Hawke’s Bay Fruit Growers Association and Horticulture New Zealand.
The group has been active in re-establishing horticulture apprenticeships, through the Primary Industry Training Organisation (ITO). The apprenticeship scheme was launched by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor at the Horticultural Conference, on July 24. There is also work being done with Massey University to hopefully reinstate the horticulture degree and progressively provide a suite of micro-credentials (short courses) from 2019. Getting both the apprenticeships and degree course established have been truly collaborative industry efforts, but Erin Simpson from NZ Apples & Pears has done an exceptional job, well supported by Thomas Perenara from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
To ensure a supply of candidates for both the apprenticeships and the degree, the HCG has established a position in Gisborne to channel people into these career programmes and place them with industry during their training. This has been funded with support from the Ministry of Social Development and through the Provincial Growth Fund. There has been funding approval for a similar position in Northland. Applications are underway to create similar positions in the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and Marlborough, and Central Otago. There would also be a co-ordinator position at Massey University. Plus there is a pipeline being established with Canterbury growers, though the Primary ITO, into horticulture apprenticeships.
The Primary ITO and HCG have developed a business case for the Tertiary Education Commission to provide additional funding for horticulture apprenticeships to upgrade the programme into a world class and best practice apprenticeship.
Horticulture New Zealand has published a report prepared by Deloitte about the value of the Pukekohe growing hub. Using the Treasury’s living standards framework, Deloitte has measured the economic value of the Pukekohe growing hub to both Auckland and New Zealand. This report was launched by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor on August 14 at an event at Parliament.The full report and a summary version are on the HortNZ website (www.hortnz.co.nz) for downloading.
The living standards framework draws on the concept of fostering holistic wellbeing through reporting on the growth and distribution of four interdependent capitals: social; financial; human and natural capital. Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, has said the Government will use the living standards framework to develop the world’s first wellbeing Budget in 2019, to measure the country’s success in a holistic way. The human capital aspects of the Deloitte report are directly relevant to the employment of New Zealanders and will inform the work being undertaken by the HCG.
Deloitte recommends six actions. One is increased use of technology to manage the intensification of cropping within environmental limits. Another recommendation is more funding and investment in horticulture education to provide for, and attract, skilled talent into the industry. Both are areas being worked on through the HCG.
Funding support for the HCG is provided by the organisations involved in it, with HortNZ’s funding coming from the levy. The six-yearly levy referendum has been completed and has assured continued funding of this and other HortNZ activities with a yes vote from 89.69 percent of growers who voted and by value 92.01 percent. Thank you for all of you who voted.
“To ensure a supply of candidates for both the apprenticeships and the degree, the HCG has established a position in Gisborne to channel people into these career programmes and place them with industry during their training.”