Committee Reports, August

Posted By HBFA | August 12, 2020


The Government are really getting behind our industry with a range of different incentives for training and retraining potential employees for our Horticulture sector. Our industry is still growing so there is always going to be a need for trained and skilled people.


Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)

In the last newsletter I mentioned the government’s “apprentice boost” initiative which provides a subsidy for employers to take on apprentices. This subsidy is significant as it provides $1000 per month for the first 12 months and then $500 per month up to a total of 20 months. Potentially $16,000! This subsidy can apply to existing trainees and new ones. Additionally, the courses are fees free.

The interest has been huge and to this end we have created a new cohort that will start on Monday the 17th of August. 9am start in room M100. We already have 16 enrolments in the programme so there are only a few spaces left and of course time is short.

This cohort will complete a 40 credit Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills, covering health, safety and wellbeing, tractors, and chainsaws, as well as Growsafe and first aid, between August and December.  Individuals that have signed up for this course, must currently be employed (they will attend EIT for approximately 10 days).  They will concurrently be enrolled in the L3 Fruit Production Certificate, enabling them to be eligible for the “apprentice boost” funding and start that course next January, along with the existing Year 1 trainees.

Year 1 trainees have just completed Growsafe and despite some inclement weather have now caught up on their fruit support structure classes. Now the chainsaw classes are all completed. Warren was very impressed with the overall competency of the trainees. Remember in the time available we will only sign them off to being a capable. Trainers will need to give them experience to get to an outstanding level.

Year 2 trainees have a busy few weeks coming up. They have just completed the weather class, for which there is an assignment involving the use of weather data for making decisions such as when to use dormancy breakers and Codling moth control. As part of this assessment they need to present a control plan. Please note this is not a plan they need to create but they need to be asking their trainers for the information about dates and methods used.

At the end of lockdown, we postponed the two botany classes and these were rescheduled to be delivered on the 14th and 28th of August. While botany is an academic subject, it provides important knowledge for trainees to understand plant physiology and the responses to our management techniques.

Most year 3 trainees are up to date with their work and the lock down did not affect their timetable too much. Unfortunately, the illness of one of our staff has required the rescheduling of one of the Fruit Crop Production days. We have a plan which will cover this on the 21st of August which is their next class. These trainees have a busy second semester so please get them to use their time productively.

For further information, please contact EIT Tutor Gordon Reid greid@eit.ac.nz or 06 8301851.

Primary ITO

Following lockdown, we are starting to receive a lot of assignment work coming in for marking, good progress for existing trainees towards their qualifications. This is an opportune time for apprentices to get back on top of their study workload before the demands of business begin to take more time and the busy season starts anew.

There has been a lot of interest in the Government No Fees and Apprenticeship Boost Scheme. Interestingly, across horticulture, the level of sign-up has not been as high in pipfruit compared to other primary industry sectors, such as landscape, amenity and nursery. Now is the time for orchards and the packhouses to really take advantage of all that this wonderful offer can provide – this fantastic opportunity should not be missed!

The Post Harvest Diploma is underway again and working in conjunction with EIT, is a very comprehensive qualification for those looking for good career within the industry.

For information, please contact the Regional Delivery Manager for Horticulture,  Jason Smyth Jason.smyth@primaryito.ac.nz or  o6 855 9004.



Little did we suspect that less than 48 hours ago we would be given a reminder of the volatility of Coronovirus.  As most of us have been watching the prevalence of the virus spreading in Victoria, the government has reminded us frequently, that is wasn’t a case of if, but when.

Our decision to move towards digital communications earlier in the year, has proved invaluable.   Little did we suspect when we launched our HBFA social media platforms in March, the extent to which digital channels would become the primary communication tool amid  changing global circumstances.  Being able to effectively reach our members and the greater horticultural community, is one of the most important roles we have in providing up-to-date information.  Digital communications enables us to deliver stories of growth, success and innovation within our incredible region.

Since the March inception, we have seen a fantastic uptake on our social media platforms by members, businesses and sponsors.  We also continue to see an active increase in wider community engagement and overall interest, in ‘what’s happening” in the hort sector.  For this, we would like to thank you – our ‘community’, for actively participating with our HBFA social media platforms, our e-newsletter and newly designed website. Our aim and purpose is to support the grower community in a positive way and we are only able to do so, with your support.  So, the next time you see a HBFA communication on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, please let us know what you think, by giving it a “like,” adding a comment, or simply by sharing. As in all things, working together, we are stronger.

Over the past month we have been busy securing venues for all our HBFA events for 2020/21. We are pleased to announce that we have chosen the brand-new Toitoi Events Center for all of our upcoming events for the next three years. This includes next months AGM, our Industry Awards and Graduation Ceremony and the Hawkes Bay Young Fruit Grower of the Year Awards Dinner.  All details are listed on our event calendar on our website HBFA Event Calendar.

The Toitoi Events Center is brand new state-of-the-art facility and we are really looking forward to hosting out premium events there for at least the next three years.

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