GIA Careers Pathways, Training and Development sub committee

The GIA Board sub-committee for Careers Pathways, Training and Development has been established to provide strategic guidance on all activities under the Careers Pathways, Training and Development strategy and will support the associations strategic imperative for ‘Careers’ aiming to develop industry skills and career opportunities, nationally.

The GIA Nursery Career Pathways Board sub-committee's focus will be on five key outcome areas from the levy funded review into nursery industry career pathways.

These areas are:
  • Promotion and awareness of the industry
  • Addressing careers and training policy parameters
  • Targeted design and delivery of training programs
  • Human Resource Management practices
  • Showcasing jobs and demonstrating dynamic career opportunities within the industry

Members of the subcommittee will also work with the Project Reference Group for the NY19006 ‘Developing nursery industry career pathways’ levy funded project by contributing their experience and expertise which will focus on:

1.Facilitating the targeted design and delivery of education and training programs (formal and informal) that support upskilling and development of people in the nursery industry; and
2.Defining, developing and showcasing jobs and career pathways that demonstrate dynamic career opportunities within the sector.

Applications for the Careers Pathways, Training and Development subcommittee closed on the 10th July, members of the committee were notified and an inception meeting was held on 27th of August.

The GIA Nursery Career Pathways Board sub-committee


Karen Brock

Brocklands Nursery

I work with an innovative team that multiplies plants using micropropagation techniques. Brocklands supply a diverse sector from cut flowers to rootstocks to amenity horticulture with plantlets intended for future produce.

Over the last 15 years my involvement has included reviewing the competency subjects with the Agrifood Standing Committee, training graduates from the local university in production horticulture and also creating teams to culture learning with disadvantaged persons.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
The ultimate aim is to be able to create a dynamic learning platform that has relevance to the industry we operate in today.


Professor Jim Pratley

Professor of Agriculture, Charles Sturt University

Currently the Part – time Strategic Research Professor at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga

I have been long-term secretary of Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture – in this role I have spent the last 13 years looking at university numbers of students and graduates in agriculture and related courses (including horticulture) and have published widely on the subject. This has included looking at the job market over the last decade or so. I was asked to conduct a review into agricultural education and training in NSW for the Minister for Education in 2012-13 and this resulted in significant changes to the agricultural education in high schools in NSW.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
Horticulture struggles to attract young people into its industries. I hope through the exercise that we can turn that around so that horticulture is seen as a preferred employer with good career prospects.


Colin Hunt
TAFE NSW

I work as a full time Horticulture educator for TAFE NSW and in conjunction with two friends we have a small collaboration known as Andy's rare plants. My passion, or obsession as my wife describes it, is plants.

I have been growing and propagating plants of all shapes and types since I was
14 with my first job at the local nursery. I proceeded through university study in horticulture and then on to being a nursery trades person at Swanes,
subsequently holding various roles in both growing and retailing plants until
starting my own business that grew into a landscape design and construction
entity - Great Gardens Design.

Since beginning work for TAFE, I have engaged in more and different formal training than I would have previously with completing a master’s degree in adult education.

I have also been involved with an international research collaboration into Thismia in Australia and New Zealand. This this extra "work" has influenced the way I see and do things and has certainly been to the benefit of my employer and the students I work with.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
I would like to see our industry be able to benefit from both formal and informal training opportunities to build staff and business capacity. More knowledgeable and confident staff can only build businesses and our industry as a whole. Even if staff move on their skills and knowledge will still be able to benefit the industry.

I would like to see is our industry being able to offer more attractive career choices for those already working and those looking to start work in nurseries.

I would like to be part of keeping the available training relevant to industry and of value to employers. There is nothing better than the look of wonder and delight you see in people when they find they are able to grow or flower a plant that is special to them.

Being able to support people in their attempts to do this when they are just starting out in their careers is what can help hook them for life as it has done for so many of us in this industry.


Associate Professor John Rayner

Director of Urban Horticulture at the University of Melbourne.

Based at the Burnley Campus my role includes teaching, research and engagement activities, but also developing new outreach opportunities for urban horticulture in the University.

I’ve been involved in horticulture for a long time, the last 30 years as an educator and researcher at Burnley. I have good engagement with the sector across Australia and continue to see students developing wonderful careers in the industry after their studies.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
I’d like to see better articulation and qualification pathways in the industry, particularly into Universities. I would also like to see greater opportunities for professional education and development programs, to support growth in emerging areas. We desperately need qualified horticulturists and having more skilled professionals will help to raise the profile of the industry more broadly.


David Reid

Policy & Technical Manager, Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria

I currently work for the Nursery Garden Industry Victoria. Founded in 1903, NGIV Limited is the peak, not-for-profit industry body that represents Victoria’s horticultural sector. Our members initiate the food that we eat, and the landscapes that promote our city’s resilience and our community’s health and well-being.

I have worked in various horticultural roles for much of my working life, from Botanic Gardens, to government and now in my role within the heart of Victoria’s horticultural industry. Our members include, but are not limited to, the horticultural businesses that keep the country supplied in quality green life and the RTOs that provide the skilled horticulturists of the future. We have an easy industry to sell, but I continue to hear the challenges that both parties have with regards to attracting students and staff, and also retaining them, providing them lifelong skills and hopefully, careers. Close connections to all facets of the industry, a clear understanding of their challenges, and a willingness to engage widely, positions me well to provide input from many concerned and enthusiastic voices.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
As a part of this committee I hope to contribute to the development of a strategic plan across all post-secondary qualifications that align with industry employment projections and skills needs. I also want to understand the challenges all parties have and where necessary advocate for the equipping of industry, RTOs and educators with the resources, infrastructure, and skills they need to develop our next generation of horticulturalists, preparing them for a lifelong career.


Daniel Ewings

National Operations Manager, Andreasens Green

Immediately after my HSC, I completed a four-year apprenticeship with Andreasens Green. I now have over 20 years industry experience and manage all aspects of daily operations for four sites with a total growing area of 160 acres and 150 full time staff.

Our industry is the entry point for education for the wider Greenlife sector. Through our industry people obtain the highest level of skills and knowledge in plant growing techniques, plant physiology and identification. The career pathways can lead to landscaping, plant breeding and specialisations such as green infrastructure however, there are also critical and fulfilling roles within greenlife production horticulture, an area of huge importance for Australia’s green future.

In 5 years, I hope we have informed a revised training program that is relevant for current and future industry needs and supported a higher standard of horticultural education that closes the gap between TAFE and university. I would like to see strong representation of greenlife programs in schools for school leavers and a high profile mature aged apprentices program attracting people changing their career. Finally, I want to see ongoing training programs for continuing professional development that extend participants beyond trade skills and focus on business performance.


Sonja Cameron

Cameron’s Nursery

My Strong interest in Horticulture made me follow my passion into a career. I started in this industry as an apprentice initially studying Horticulture at TAFE. More recently completing several degrees, and currently completing a Master of Business at University of Tasmania.
I find myself a lifelong learner. I believe everyone needs to be
encouraged to add to their skills throughout their careers for their own personal development and also their career advancement.

What you hope to achieve for industry by being involved in the committee
Opening the door to many people who have thought about following a career in Horticulture which has many opportunities. This industry is full of exciting jobs and places of employment just waiting for skilled employees. Our industry is widely unknown to the greater population and this needs to change as what we produce is amazing.