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Primary ITO: Knowledge to grow

News & Features

Creative streak sparks passion for amenity horticulture

3 August 2020

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For Bay of Plenty-based amenity horticulture apprentice Natalie Holmes, it was her love of working with plants outside that attracted her to the industry. She had previously been working in the kiwifruit industry, but decided it wasn’t for her. “My training adviser, Susan Freeman, helped me find a job in amenity horticulture with Full Circle and I absolutely love it. Amenity horticulture has so much creativity to it, and you see the reward for the work that you put in,” she explains. “in my job there’s so much diversity in the jobs I do.” 


Natalie really values the off-job training days: “they give me the knowledge on why I do things, and provides me with understanding of the practical activities that I carry out, like soil classes and plant structure and function. They all relate to the work I do.” 


Central to Natalie’s success in study is the consistent support of her employer, Brian Rickey ,Owner of Full Circle Arboriculture Ltd, and pastoral care provided by her training adviser, Susan, who have supported Natalie through her entire apprenticeship. The reviews and goal setting with Susan serve as motivation, and having an employer like Brian who invests in training his people is instrumental to Natalie’s development. “it’s been a great way to learn and get paid at the same time. There is a support system in place which helps me achieve my goals.”  


Before working in amenity horticulture, Natalie didn’t know much about it. “But I love it now,” she says. “I was able to transfer some of the knowledge and skills that I had learned through my work in the kiwifruit sector, like pruning skills, soil types, and equipment use. I love that in amenity horticulture I can make something nice with the gardens I work in. Plus there’s the benefits for the environment. I can see results for the work I put in, including people getting enjoyment from it. I like that the job is physical and active. And even though it’s not high tech, you still need to think.”