Community of Practice promoting real employment opportunities in local industry

Community of Practice partner Brotherhood of St Laurence and Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria boost Mornington Peninsula employment with a co-designed pilot program.

Through a connection with Invest Victoria, the BSL was referred to the CEO of Ball Horticulture both as a large employer in the Mornington Peninsula region and as the incoming President of the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV), the peak body for horticulture in Victoria.

NGIV represents 43,000 jobs in the Victorian horticulture industry, with 30 per cent of these jobs in the Mornington Peninsula, ranging from supply chain to wholesale, innovation and retail. NGIV member businesses have experienced significant challenges promoting the industry as a dynamic career option for young people in the region, which has impacted on the quality and sustainability of recruitment.

The BSL and NGIV co-designed a pilot exposure program to promote real employment opportunities in the industry locally, and came to an agreement that the core principles would include:

  • a five-week, one day per week pilot program showcasing dynamic and exciting employers in the industry, with a rotating weekly focus on supply chain, wholesale, innovation, retail and exhibition
  • each week would include a tour, industry speakers, hands-on learning and micro-work experience opportunities
  • businesses involved would earmark vacancies prior to the program, from casual work to part-time and full-time, internships and apprenticeships
  • that a direct link would then be facilitated with a horticulture program at a TAFE or other registered training organisation.

Direct buy-in from the CEO, President and Board Members (themselves member businesses participating) ensured the program was prioritised and resourced accordingly.

The EEO met with NGIV to get a good sense of what would be appropriate for the various employers involved, and the key contact at NGIV then facilitated a ‘warm lead’ with specific businesses. Once the employers had been met, the EEO developed a structure that was diverse enough to suit our Participants but would also fit within the needs of those employers.

During this process, the EEO contacted Apprenticeship and Traineeship Employment Partners (ATEP), the preferred group training provider for horticulture apprenticeships, to request a training package for a pre-apprenticeship in Horticulture that was cost-neutral for both our Participants and the BSL. ATEP was able to meet the BSL requirements and has now designed a program for our Participants once they have completed the NGIV program.