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Primary ITO: Knowledge to grow

Horticulture Apprenticeships – FAQs

Fees and Eligibility

How much does it cost?

There is a one-off programme fee of $2,530 which includes all off-job specialist training days.

Optional skills training in vehicles, chainsaws and Growsafe are an additional cost.

What payment options are available?

There are a variety of payment options available:

  1. NZ Apprenticeships are an eligible programme under the Government’s Fees-Free policy. Check eligibility criteria at
  2. A direct debit option is available for apprentices who wish to split the payment over instalments.
  3. Employers can pay some or all of the fee on behalf of an apprentice. This is often linked to the terms of the individual company's employment agreement or part of their remuneration package.

The person responsible for payment must be confirmed at the time of enrolment.

Who is eligible?

An apprentice must be:

  • Over 16 years of age
  • Currently working in the industry
  • Prepared to commit to their employer for the period of the apprenticeship
  • Able to undertake learning for a Level 4 qualification.

Can a current Primary ITO trainee enrol?

A trainee cannot be enrolled in two courses at once.  If a trainee is enrolled in another ITO course, they need to complete this course before beginning their apprenticeship.

Can previous achievement be recognised as part of an apprenticeship?

If the apprentice has any unit standards on their NZQA Record of Achievement, that are within the NZ Certificate in Horticulture Level 3 and 4 qualifications, these unit standards automatically appear on their Primary ITO Training Plan as completed.

Primary ITO can also use a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process that formally recognises skills and knowledge that have been gained from informal learning or by undertaking equivalent standards.

About apprenticeships

What are the intake dates?

Skills development is designed to replicate a typical production season so an individual can start an apprenticeship at any time of the year. 

What's the difference between a trainee and an apprentice?

A trainee is a person currently working in the industry that is enrolled in a single, industry led, workplace based training programme at any one of the levels offered. 

An Apprentice is an industry trainee that has committed to a long-term training plan in collaboration with their employer and Primary ITO to achieve a NZQA recognised New Zealand Apprenticeship, the equivalent of level 3 and 4 qualifications.  The apprenticeship is over the period of approximately three years with the guarantee of additional pastoral care and support provided by Primary ITO to both parties for the duration of the programme.

What type of support is provided?

Primary ITO is responsible for facilitating an apprentice’s training and will support both the apprentice and the employer throughout the apprenticeship.

All apprentices will receive three face to face visits a year from their Training Adviser plus phone and email contact throughout the year. This level of on-going commitment is designed to keep the trainee and the employer or manager engaged and on track.

Primary ITO supports employers through providing guidance, information, learning and assessment resources, and other services as appropriate.

The level and depth of support for both apprentices and employers will depend on the individual.

What are my responsibilities?


Employer responsibilities

As with all NZ Apprenticeships employers need to be committed to supporting an apprentice for the duration of the programme.

Most of the learning and assessment is workplace led provided by the employer through daily activities.  This has the advantage of meaning less time away from work but does mean the employer has a hands-on role to play in the learning and assessment. Where the business does not have the resources in-house to train or assess the trainees then the Primary ITO can facilitate an external training provider.

Apprentice responsibilities

A potential apprentice must be realistic about their intention to work in their chosen sector and whether it's the right choice for them.

Apprentices should have been working in the sector long enough to understand the responsibilities and requirements of their employment agreement. 

Contact Us

If you're looking for someone new or you want to upskill a current employee, please contact us via or contact your Primary ITO training adviser.