Good luck or good plan­ning?

Is it luck that sees peo­ple rise to the top of the hor­ti­cul­ture tal­ent pool?

The Orchardist - - Careers - By Kate Long­man Kate Long­man is Pri­mary ITO Na­tional Group Man­ager Hor­ti­cul­ture & Viti­cul­ture.

The truth is a lot of de­lib­er­ate plan­ning goes into achiev­ing suc­cess.

Right now, New Zealand’s hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor needs to plan, and in­vest in, its fu­ture work­force to en­sure we keep achiev­ing on the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stage. Peo­ple have a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity to em­bark on a ca­reer that’s en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able, so­cially re­spon­si­ble and will help them pro­vide top qual­ity nu­tri­tion to the world.

NZ hor­ti­cul­ture is big busi­ness, and we’re grow­ing fast. But we need qual­i­fied, ca­pa­ble peo­ple ready to grow with it. Pri­mary ITO has re­cently part­nered with in­dus­try to of­fer five new ap­pren­tice­ships across hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion; fruit pro­duc­tion, in­door crop pro­tec­tion, out­door veg­etable pro­duc­tion, nurs­ery pro­duc­tion and post-har­vest).

So, how will this ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme ben­e­fit our in­dus­try?

In­vest­ing in ap­pren­tices is the best way to en­sure we can fill fu­ture man­age­ment roles in hor­ti­cul­ture which are evolv­ing and be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ad­vanced in terms of tech­nol­ogy and global con­sumer de­mands. An ap­pren­tice­ship in hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion pro­vides a solid ca­reer path­way for peo­ple to fol­low. It of­fers se­cu­rity in the form of struc­tured, sound and re­li­able train­ing and shows a com­mit­ment on be­half of both em­ploy­ers and the ap­pren­tices them­selves to work­ing in the in­dus­try.

Not only will it at­tract new­com­ers and up­skill them, it will also help em­ploy­ers re­tain the staff they cur­rently have. Peo­ple of­ten feel over­looked and un­der­val­ued in the work­place. But putting for­mal ap­pren­tice­ship train­ing in place will help sup­port, de­velop, progress and chal­lenge them by broad­en­ing their knowl­edge and giv­ing them op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn on the job.

The re­al­ity is an ap­pren­tice be­comes more and more valu­able ev­ery day.They learn the the­o­ret­i­cal con­cepts be­hind ev­ery­day work tasks and delve into a broad range of sub­jects in­clud­ing plant botany, pests and dis­eases. The ap­pren­tice­ship in hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion com­prises Level 3 and 4 pa­pers, the more ad­vanced of which look at lead­er­ship, su­per­vi­sion and ex­am­ine busi­ness op­er­a­tions in de­tail. So by the end of the three-year course, your ap­pren­tice will be ready to take on more re­spon­si­bil­ity and per­haps even a man­age­ment role de­pend­ing on the size of your op­er­a­tion.

Em­ploy­ers can learn a lot from be­ing in­volved in the pro­gramme too. Pri­mary ITO runs a “train the trainer” course to sup­port em­ploy­ers and help them get along­side their ap­pren­tices and re­spond to their dif­fer­ent learn­ing needs. There may be some­one within your or­gan­i­sa­tion who loves to teach oth­ers, and putting them into a trainer role will greatly en­hance their job sat­is­fac­tion.

Each unit stan­dard is also linked to in­dus­try stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures (SOP), which is ex­tremely use­ful if there’s an area of your busi­ness where you don’t have an SOP al­ready in place. These can be used as a foun­da­tion for in­tro­duc­ing ap­pro­pri­ate pro­to­cols into your work­place which you might not other­wise have had the time or re­sources to im­ple­ment.

In a nut­shell (no pun in­tended), to­day’s ap­pren­tices will be­come to­mor­row’s fu­ture lead­ers. And let’s face it, we all want in­dus­try stars on our team.

Don’t leave it to luck or chance.

Em­ploy­ers who want to plan now for fu­ture suc­cess can visit www.lets­grow.co.nz to find out more in­for­ma­tion about the ap­pren­tice­ship in hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion.

“There may be some­one within your or­gan­i­sa­tion who loves to teach oth­ers, and putting them into a trainer role will greatly en­hance their job sat­is­fac­tion.”

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