Growing careers in horticulture

Sandy Scarrow, Fruition managing director.

Horticulture is the new growth industry for New Zealand and attracting new people needs a new way of thinking.

We are constantly bombarded with news articles about the need to attract both skilled and unskilled workers into the primary sector, and from what I see, it’s true and the industry has systematic challenges ahead.

By 2025, it is estimated the industry will need nearly 30,000 people with skills and tertiary qualifications to manage and lead innovative practices that maximise efficiencies through the supply chain. Then, there’s the ongoing workforce required each year to pick, dspack and drive seasonal outputs.

People are our industry’s most valuable resource and there is growing recognition of the need to further invest in people through quality educational pathways. Addressing these challenges through an educational lens will support greater uptake of a long-term career in horticulture and build the capacity of a workforce to meet the needs of horticultural enterprises across the country.

Fruition Horticulture’s Level 2 NZQA programme is a great example of alternative thinking. This NZQA Level 2 programme continues our services and support within the New Zealand horticultural sectors in recruiting and training potential employees for a sector in need of entry level employees; as well as, providing training and education for those who are wanting to begin a career in horticulture. The programme is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission and targets school leavers or those not engaged in employment, education or training.

The team at Fruition Horticulture is dedicated to providing people the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to enter the workforce and develop their careers through a range of vocational training courses. Fruition is committed to student development and understand that for some, there are various barriers to learning. Refining our Level 2 programme to support at-risk young people into a career, boosting achievement of Maori and Pasifika, and improving adult literacy and numeracy are key priorities moving forward.

Our approach to education is unique in our sector and we are continuously looking at ways to improve programme outcomes. Encouraging youth to re-enter an educational setting is a challenge, but creative thinking and an innovative approach is crucial when attracting people to a career in horticulture.  

Providing a robust career pathway in horticulture for those New Zealanders searching for real opportunity should be a key priority for our industry. Our industry depends on it.


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