Nursery Cadetship Program
Nationally, the number of professionally qualified Nurserypersons as defined by the ABS has decreased by over a third since 1996 from 3000 to just over 2000 in 2007 and continues to fall. An estimated 23% of the current nursery workforce is aged between 45-54 with 18% are aged 55-64 and the drain of human capital in the coming years will significantly impact the industry.
Around 10 years ago the nursery industry was one of the largest employers of apprentices within the Victorian horticultural industry but is today ranked second lowest compared to all other sectors with only 55 apprenticeship completions in 2007. The industry shares the responsibility for poor completion rates with TAFE providers and acknowledges that there is a need for improvement.
A review conducted recently by the NGIV has highlighted the increased interest and commitment of its members to participate in building the human capital within their industry and the professionalism of nursery enterprises in both the retail and wholesale sectors. This is also evidenced by the increased participation of NGIV members in their Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA), which has training and professional development as a cornerstone with the stated intentions of a number of businesses already interested in employing graduates from a vocational scholarship & apprenticeship program.
It is hoped that this project will encourage cooperation between industry and provider stakeholders and have a positive effect on the quality of delivery through a mutual understanding of job expectations and the process of formal training delivery.
Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) is conducting a program which will provide scholarships which would incorporate a 15-week work placement within a number of high quality professional plant nurseries and the undertaking of formally accredited TAFE training which would gain credit for an apprenticeship qualification.
Graduates of the program will be offered a formal apprenticeship in a participating NGIV nursery where a commitment to ongoing internal workforce development and preparedness to undertake continuous improvement within the workplace has been established.
To maintain viability and standards within both local and regional training providers, ongoing training of apprentices will be undertaken by a provider mutually agreed on by the employer and apprentice cooperatively monitored by a Workplace Mentor.
For further details please go to the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria website.