Our sector has a strong history of developing young people who love working with plants and building their skills and knowledge. We are working with our members, industry partners, tertiary providers and the Government to reignite the training programmes and qualifications that have been so important to our sector.  

 Lincoln Memorandum of Understanding

In July 2022, NZPPI was delighted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln University to establish a national Centre of Excellence for plant production. This Centre, based at Lincoln, will provide extension, research and capacity-building programmes for our industry, from breeding and germplasm through to the production and marketing of plants and plant products. The overall aim is to drive productivity and resilience in our industry through:

  • accelerating the adoption of innovations
  • technical and extension services for NZPPI members and our partners.
  • establishing new models for horticulture education, in the regions and in the workplace.  

Alongside this partnership with Lincoln, sits an innovation network model for plant production. The framework will give our members access to expertise from Lincoln and through its international networks. This is a step change for our industry.  It will put plant producers in the driving seat, making science and education relevant and accessible, as well as cheaper and faster.  Through our relationship with Lincoln, NZPPI can bring together the resources and know-how needed to establish the Centre of Excellence plus regional and local centres where extension and education activities can be delivered.  


The Young Plant Producer competition (formerly called Young Achiever) recognises the best young people in our sector and enables them to take the next step in their personal and career development.

The two-day event pushes entrants to learn valuable new skills, gives them exceptional networking opportunities with industry leaders, and a boost to their careers. Each year our Young Plant Producer joins the winners of other horticulture industry competitions in the Young Horticulturalist of the Year.

Check out the Young Plant Producer website for more information and how and when to enter.



In July 2022, we announced the establishment of the Carol Fraser Industry Training Award (Fraser Award) in memory of Carol Fraser who founded Growing Spectrum with her husband Peter. Carol, who played an extremely active role in industry training and the professional development of plant producers. This award, supported by the Fraser family, will continue Carol’s educational legacy through its support of those outstanding individuals who have a passion for plants, for training and education, and for our industry. The inaugural award was presented at the Conference 2022 awards dinner by Carol’s son Michael to Rural Design nursery manager, Dani McBride, our 2021 Young Achiever.

Careers & Education

With about 4000 people employed in our sector and many unfilled jobs, there are plenty of opportunities for people to join our industry and pursue an exciting and rewarding career. 

We work with other primary organisations to identify the best structure for a Primary Workforce Development Council to represent our sector.

This work includes:

  • Developing our industry qualifications to ensure that they are relevant
  • Promoting free apprenticeships
  • Establishing a way for people to find jobs in our sector

Workplace Training

The $1.6 Billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package announced by the Government will provide free training in our sector for a two year period, starting 1 June 2020.

This is a prime opportunity for anyone working in your business to take the step upskilling. There are many new training opportunities for workers that are starting out, or already in management positions.  

To find out more, visit the  Plant Careers Website

Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme

Equipping today’s leaders for tomorrow’s challenges.

The Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme has been specifically designed for the food and fibre sector.

The programme develops food and fibre sector leaders with the skills, confidence, awareness, and networks to think and act strategically.

It is for farmers, foresters, fishers, growers, and agri-professionals who have a desire to contribute to their rural community, food and fibre production, processing, or profession.

To apply, or for more information, visit the website now

For any queries contact Lisa Rogers +64 21 139 6881 or email


New Approach to Food and Fibre Qualifications

08 Feb 2023

 A new discussion document from Muka Tangata examines how good qualification, standard, and micro-credential design can enable greater flexibility in vocational education and training. 

A New Approach to Learner Pathways responds to engagement and discussion between Muka Tangata and the food and fibre sector, iwi and hapū Māori and education providers that vocational education and training needs to be responsive and flexible for people to succeed. Muka Tangata have developed a proposal to create a streamlined set of qualifications that work for ākonga (learners), the food and fibre sector, and particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples. 

“We have heard that employers, learners and providers find formal vocational education inflexible, complex and hard to use and know that vocational education numbers in food and fibre have been dropping. The main positive demographic opportunities for the workforce of Aotearoa are Māori and Pacific peoples — but only if they can succeed in the system,” Muka Tangata Chief Executive Jeremy Baker said.

“We need a system of qualifications, standards and micro-credentials that is much more responsive to diverse needs - of employers, learners, and iwi and hapū Māori.” 

The document examines the changing state of vocational education, poses questions and establishes an initial set of refreshed design and review principles. It is the first step in investigating the opportunity for a streamlined set of qualifications, standards and micro-credentials that work for ākonga and the food and fibre sector. 

Muka Tangata, the People, Food and Fibre Workforce Development Council, will use the document to further refine their approach to qualification development and review through engagement with iwi and hapū Māori and industry and education partners and welcomes feedback and ideas.

To provide your feedback please reach out to Craig Langdon, GM Qualifications and Standards




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