New training to increase fruit production skills and opportunities across the country

2 November 2023

New fruit production training from Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga promises to make it easier for employees and businesses to get the skills they need.

The updated New Zealand Certificate in Fruit Production Level 3 offers on-the-job training with options designed to mean that people can get the training best suited to their region and business.

New learners will join the approximately 350 other people learning about fruit production on the job, across New Zealand’s orchards and farms.

Hamish Gordon, Primary ITO sector manager for horticulture production, says the new programme makes it easier to focus on the particular skills needs for specific regions and businesses.

“For example, where frost protection is very important in the South Island, it’s much less the focus in the far north.”

He says while there are new training options for things like pruning younger or mature trees, frost protection and how to interpret weather maps, the key principles set people up for a career in fruit production. “It’s very broad and does fit into a lot of systems, whether that’s blueberries, kiwifruit on vines, or tree fruit.”

Hamish says the industry needs to focus on upskilling people as it can’t rely on being able to employ people already fully skilled.

“It’s an aging industry, with managers and directors in their 60s and we need more skilled people coming through to fill those managerial positions. Even when people are trained, they’re not necessarily choosing to step up into management so investing in training is critical.”

The new Level 3 New Zealand Certificate is available now and a new Level 4 certificate was launched earlier this year. They can be combined into a New Zealand Apprenticeship. It’s the Level 4 where people will learn management skills, says Hamish.

“It involves a lot of critical thinking about why you do things within a production system, as well as how to supervise and talk to your team.”

For more information or to enrol, complete the contact form below and we’ll connect you with your local fruit production Training Adviser.