Nursery grower’s green shoots for industry

28 March 2022

A new programme to draw people into the primary sector has hit a major milestone – pairing up an aspiring nursery grower with an industry mentor.


Primary ITO’s PiPI (Pathways into Primary Industries) is at a pilot stage where career-ready people can connect to business owners to help them launch into a career.

It is a new area for Primary ITO, providing a matching service between people who want to join the sector, mentors happy to help, and even businesses looking for people.

There’s previously been a gap in doing this, says Primary ITO’s chief executive Nigel Philpott.

“We started PiPI because across our forty-plus industry sectors, everyone told us that they needed skilled people and that they were prepared to train them.

“The beauty of this is that there are many people out there who’d like to get into horticulture, agriculture or many other types of food, fibre and services, but haven’t known how to start. This will match those keen people with experts who know exactly how to go about it, and can even lead to a job.”

The first person to apply and get a mentor wants to work in a plant nursery. “This person is already a general gardener so has some great skills and knowledge that they can bring to a nursery. Finding out how to transfer those skills and build on them will be a really exciting journey for them – and there’ll be a business out there who’ll get a great employee.”

Nigel says while PiPI is still at a pilot stage and hasn’t formally launched yet, having the first person sign up for a mentor is very promising.

“Ahakoa he iti he pounamu – as the saying goes, it’s only small but it is greenstone!”

Research that led to PiPI included that while there is a lot of information showcasing how dynamic primary sector jobs are, there’s little about how to get into them. “It’s exciting seeing that this initiative will work. It is new for an industry training organisation to be working with people before they actually have jobs,” says Nigel.

For more information, visit pipi.ac.nz

Media: Colin Marshall 027 286 0737 or [email protected] ito.ac.nz