Nursery - Retail/Wholesale
This industry includes breeding, propagating, growing, sale and hire of all plants, trees, bedding and indoor plants and vegetable seedlings, bulb growing, flowerpot growing, fruit tree nursery operation, ornamental plant growing, turf growing, vine stock growing, operation of retail nurseries and the use of chemicals in plant protection.
The Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria, formed in 1903, is the peak industry body and contains approximately 340 members, with the Nursery & Garden Industry Australia being the peak national industry formed in the 1940s. There are approximately 8,000 businesses nationally with the national industry worth estimated at $5.71 billion.
There are three broad sub-sectors in nursery - these being retail nurseries (2,500), growers (4,000) and Allied Traders and Discount Department stores and hardware stores that sell plants (1,500) that are in the ‘Nursery' sector or derive a significant part of their income from the sector. The average nursery business employs 3-4 people with possible employees in the industry nationally being 24,000-32,000. About 2,000 nursery businesses operate in Victoria according to 2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics data, meaning there are likely to be about 6,000-8,000 nursery employees in Victoria.
The work undertaken by those employed in the nursery sector can comprise the following:<
- propagation, production and maintenance of plants for sales and/or hire
- wholesaling and retailing of plants and associated products
- provision of advice on plant selection and garden design
- marketing and promotion of plant products and services
If you like working with people and with plants then the nursery industry has many exciting opportunities for you.
There are several different types of nurseries. Some nurseries grow and sell a broad range of plants, while others specialise in areas such as native plants, flower seedlings and bulbs, advanced trees, roses, conifers, palms, ferns or orchids.
Retail nurseries sell to the general public. They employ workers with a good knowledge of plants and gardening products and-most importantly-who can communicate well with customers. Smaller retail nurseries may employ only a few staff while large nurseries may employ thirty or more. As many retail nurseries are open seven days a week, they often employ casual and part time workers.
Wholesale nurseries propagate and supply plants to supermarkets, retail nurseries, garden centres and landscapers. Wholesale nurseries are often large and are generally located on the outskirts of major cities. They may employ from ten to a hundred staff. Some have retail outlets as well. Wholesale nurseries usually operate on a five day week.
Nurseries can also be found in some municipal councils, government departments, landscape companies and "greening" or revegetation organisations. These nurseries grow plants for local landscape and revegetation projects.
Other businesses allied to the nursery industry include indoor plant hire and maintenance companies and suppliers of garden products.
Work in the nursery industry can be divided into levels which also relate to training and qualifications. The titles for those who work at these levels are:
|Level||Job Role||Recommended Qualification|
|Level 2||Nursery Hand||Certificate II in Horticulture (Retail Nursery)
Certificate II in Horticulture (Wholesale Nursery)
|Level 3||Nursery Tradesperson||Certificate III in Horticulture (Retail Nursery)
Certificate III in Horticulture (Wholesale Nursery)
|Level 4||Nursery Supervisor||Certificate IV in Horticulture (Retail Nursery)
Certificate IV in Horticulture (Wholesale Nursery)
|Level 5||Nursery Manager||Diploma of Horticulture (Retail Nursery)
Diploma of Horticulture (Wholesale Nursery)
The nursery hand is likely to be involved in a wide range of nursery tasks under limited supervision.
Work done by nursery hands could include:
- tending nursery plants
- assisting sales of products and services
- treating weeds, pests and diseases
- using chemicals and biological agents
- propagation work
- operating tractors, equipment and machinery
There are several ways to get work as a nursery hand. A nursery traineeship will start you training as a nursery assistant before moving on to work as a nursery hand. Individuals with general horticultural experience are often able to find employment as nursery hands on a casual basis, assisting with general nursery work.
The qualification available for nursery hands who have either undertaken formal training or learnt their skills on-the-job is the Certificate II in Horticulture (Nursery).
Priority skills areas for working as a nursery hand include workplace health and safety, chemical application, plant maintenance, and machinery and equipment operation.
Work undertaken as a nursery tradesperson could include:
- selling plants and services
- receiving and dispatching plants
- controlling weeds, pests and diseases
- installing irrigation and drainage systems
- providing information on plants
- products and treatments
- propagating plants and preparing specialised plants
- supervising machinery and equipment use
There are a number of ways to get work as a nursery tradesperson. Most employees have either progressed from working as nursery hands or have completed a Level 3 Nursery Traineeship which involves formal learning while working on-the-job.
The national qualification available for a nursery tradesperson is the Certificate III in Horticulture (Nursery).
Priority skills areas for working as a nursery tradesperson include workplace health and safety, selling products and services, receiving and dispatching plants, providing information and controlling weeds, pests and diseases.
The nursery supervisor is responsible for a number of workers and nursery activities.
- supervising and training staff
- overseeing nursery sales
- coordinating nursery production
- implementing propagation plans
- recommending plants, products and treatments
- setting up promotional programs
- managing a budget
There are several ways to get work as a nursery supervisor. Most nursery supervisors have been nursery tradespersons and have become nursery supervisors after demonstrating leadership and organisational skills. Others have completed a Level 4 Nursery Traineeship which involves formal learning while working on-the-job.
The qualification for nursery supervisors who have either done formal training or learnt their skills on-the-job is the Certificate IV in Horticulture (Nursery).
Priority skills areas for a nursery supervisor include staff supervision and training, overseeing sales, coordinating production, promotion and managing budgets.
The nursery manager is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing a nursery operation.
These responsibilities could include:
- administering the business
- developing a production plan
- developing plant sales programs
- monitoring budgets and financial reports
- preparing estimates, quotes and tenders
- providing specialist advice on plants, products and treatments
- designing irrigation, drainage and water treatment systems
To obtain a Diploma in Horticulture (Nursery) you will have to demonstrate that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills and also that you can apply your knowledge to industry standards.
Priority skills areas for a nursery manager include business administration, planning for production and plant sales programs, monitoring budgets and financial reports, and staff management.