Young Leaders consider the industry’s future

The next generation gathered recently to discuss the current state of the nursery industry and provide their thoughts on where they see the industry in five and ten years’ time.

The inaugural future leaders’ forum was held on 15 February, in the lead up to the 2016 National Industry Conference in Adelaide.160307 YLAW future leaders pic

The participants represented the diversity of the industry, including growers, wholesale and retail, and spent four hours workshopping issues that aren’t just relevant in Australia, but are being considered world-wide:

  • Promoting our industry as a career of choice.
  • Training, education and professional development.
  • Industry research and development priorities.
  • Industry Structure Review
  • Communicating with and engaging industry

The group voiced concern about the industry’s public profile and how that influences school leavers and others from potentially considering it as a career.

A decline in enrolments, as well as the availability of production nursery or even horticulture-specific courses created intense discussion, with participants drawing on their personal experience of both positives and negatives.

The long-term impact of lower levels of qualifications (Certificate III) as the industry ‘norm’ rather than demanding more of its workforce in terms of education and training was also considered. This included management’s knowledge of business skills, marketing and staff management; as well as research and technical aspects such as water and pest management, biosecurity and breeding.

The contributions of this forum will be submitted to various industry groups, including the Structure Review Committee and the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia Board to inform strategies that will help guide the industry for the next 20 years.

The forum was supported through the levy-funded project Nursery Industry Young Leader Development 2014-2015, and many of the participants were former nominees of the Young Leader Award.

Project code: NY13017

More information: