Programme offers on-job training

New fruit production training aims to make it easier for Central Otago employees and businesses to get the skills they need.

Primary ITO sector manager for horticulture production Hamish Gordon said the updated New Zealand certificate in fruit production level 3 offered on-the-job training with options designed to allow people to get the training best suited to their region and business.

In Central Otago, new learners would join others learning on the job on more than 40 orchards and farms in the region producing crops including summer fruit, apples and nuts.

The new programme made it easier to focus on the particular skills needed for the region and business.

"For example, where frost protection is very important in the South Island, it’s much less the focus in the Far North."

While there were new training options for skills such as pruning younger or mature trees, frost protection and how to interpret weather maps, the key principles set people up for a career in fruit production, he said.

The industry needed to focus on upskilling people as it could not rely on being able to employ people already fully skilled, Mr Gordon said.

"It’s an ageing industry, with managers and directors in their 60s and we need more skilled people coming through to fill those managerial positions. Even when people are trained, they’re not necessarily choosing to step up into management so investing in training is critical."