People power driving the future of green life | OPINION

People power driving the future of green life | OPINION


Opinion
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The nursery industry is looking for the next generation of growers.

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WE’RE on the brink of a green era.

Councils are greening our cities, and businesses and families are increasingly realising the growing benefits of green life.

Australian horticulture is a booming and important industry.

The production nursery industry is the starting block for our food and fibre supply chains, as well as our re-vegetation and landscaping sectors for urban horticulture.

But, like many grower industries, it’s facing a major workforce challenge. In an increasingly competitive environment, we’re finding it more difficult than ever, to attract and retain the right talent into the industry. 

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As CEO of Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA), I’m committed to helping Australian nurseries to grow and prosper, and show the real value of green life to the wider community.

With more than 24,000 employees nationwide, our people are our best ambassadors.

They are the face and promoters of our industry, and are critical to maintaining the profitability and sustainability of individual businesses.

With the industry now valued at over $2.29 billion and a surging demand for green life in our cities, workplaces and homes; there is no slowing down.

Peter Vaughan, CEO, Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.

Peter Vaughan, CEO, Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.

To facilitate this increasing demand and industry growth, the industry has placed a central focus on workforce development.

Staff retention is a major challenge for Australian nurseries, which is compounded by the declining relevance of traditional employment challenges.

One of the five outcomes from our nursery industry Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) 2017-2021 reflects this and is dedicated to investing in our people; making sure we are developing the right human capital, having career pathways and propelling them into leadership roles.

In an industry first, a newly contracted project being led by agricultural consultancy, RMCG, will review the current nursery industry career pathways.

As a vital issue for industry, I encourage growers to share their views and experiences of the challenges faced at a business level through a newly released survey.

It is being funded by Hort Innovation using nursery industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.

It’s extremely important to us, that levy investments are committed to ensuring the growth and prosperity of the industry, and attracting the right people into the horticultural workforce is central to that.

In partnership with NGIA, the project aims to address current industry employment issues, and provide a clearer direction on how to sustain and boost interest of people working, or looking to work, in Australia’s nursery industry.

Workforce development is essential and exciting for the future; it’s a practical step we can take to facilitate industry growth and to secure the next generation of green leaders.

As a vital issue for industry, I encourage growers to share their views and experiences of the challenges faced at a business level through a newly released survey.

It’s our hope that the RMCG project and Nursery SIP will work to attract, retain and develop a greater nursery workforce with clearer and better career development pathways leading into the future.

Your views will create outcomes that guide best practice solutions moving forward.

We need to attract the right people into our industry, and view new employees and university students as the future leaders of the nursery and garden industry.

They are the workforce whose education and development will provide the skills to move our industry from the field and into the modern era with skills in business, finance, accounting, marketing and data analytics.

It’s our hope that the RMCG project and Nursery SIP will work to attract, retain and develop a greater nursery workforce with clearer and better career development pathways leading into the future.

Driving further recognition of the nursery industry as a vibrant career opportunity will only increase the sustainability, prosperity and profitability of our industry.

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