Nursery cultivating apprenticeships

New growth ... Blue Mountain Nurseries directors Chris and Rebecca Hughes are offering two new...
New growth ... Blue Mountain Nurseries directors Chris and Rebecca Hughes are offering two new apprenticeships in the wake of nationwide economic challenges posed by the recent Covid-19 lockdown. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A West Otago nursery aims to propagate some green shoots of recovery with two new apprenticeships.

Tapanui business Blue Mountain Nurseries advertised the positions after seeing an upsurge in trade following the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

General manager Chris Hughes, who runs the 88-year-old plant wholesale and retail firm with wife Rebecca, said it was important for those businesses that could, to help boost the country’s economic recovery.

‘‘I think it’s important for people to know it’s not all bad news out there in the job market. We want to do our bit for enthusiastic workers looking for employment right now, and an apprenticeship is a great way to learn your trade and earn while you’re studying.’’

Although the firm of 15 had a long tradition of taking on apprentices, this had lapsed during recent years due to the ready availability of suitably qualified overseas staff.

Recent changes to international travel meant that was no longer viable, he said.

‘‘To be honest, there just haven’t been the right people locally to offer apprenticeships, but we’re very
hopeful the current situation will expand the pool of
potential New Zealand horticulture trainees.’’

He said candidates should have an eye for detail, enjoy getting their hands dirty and, ideally, already be a ‘‘plantaholic’’.

‘‘All our staff will be involved in some way with training. We’re all ages and from across the world, so we’re a pretty diverse bunch.’’

Mr Hughes said businesses, where possible, should be trying to look past present challenges and continue planning for the long term.

‘‘This is an investment not only in the future of our business, but also of our young people.’’

Applications close Friday.


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