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Growing Skills

Creating a learning environment at work is an important part of developing team members at large Auckland landscape construction company Modern Environments, says managing director Simon Farrell

Modern Environments delivers landscape construction, landscaping and maintenance support to local authorities and developers for public open spaces and multi-residential developments. Large projects include building timber weirs and concrete structures for the South Auckland Awakeri Wetlands, playground design and development, landscape construction for public walkways, and residential subdivisions.

Two staff members are currently undertaking the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Landscape Construction with Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga. Amanda Young is doing Level 4 and Levi Babbington Level 3.

Modern Environments has supported several learners through on-the-job learning over the years.

“As employers, it is important that we are creating a learning environment where our team members can grow knowledge and build confidence,” says Simon.

Learning advances team members

He says both Amanda and Levi had grown and advanced significantly in their roles since beginning their programmes.

Amanda had excelled on the programme, learning construction skills and now leads teams on large projects, where she also manages relationships with customers, designers and engineers. A former building apprentice, Levi was unsure about undertaking more study, but his confidence had grown to the point that he was now running jobs and handling clients very capably.

Amanda, from Scotland, loves working in the outdoors and, before joining Modern Environments, worked on restoration and repair projects for traditional homes and structures in the United Kingdom and France. This included crofts, Elizabethan-walled gardens and an underground round house.

When she moved to Aotearoa New Zealand, Amanda wanted to keep working outdoors and in construction, so took the opportunity to join Modern Environments and gain a qualification.

She says she enjoys the variety and challenge of the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Landscape Construction.

“With this programme, you are always doing something new and progressive. There are so many different areas and materials involved.”

Amanda enjoys the attention to detail required with construction work and the planning aspect of projects. She recommends learning on-the-job with an apprenticeship.

Competencies improve the business

“The learning is fantastic. It is a good way to grow your skill set, achieve personal development and gain a qualification and higher pay. You are also pretty much guaranteed to move up in your career.”

Simon says the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Landscape Construction is well suited to the company’s work and improves competencies across the company.

“We find it extremely valuable because we note all our competencies in our tenders for work. Having staff that have achieved skills and qualifications helps us with these bids.”

Like many industries, landscaping and horticulture are affected by a skills shortage, he says.

“The apprenticeship provides the opportunity to grow the number of skilled people in our industry, and to grow our business by building the capability and competencies of our people at the same time.”

Article supplied by Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga.

Primary ITO offers landscaping apprenticeships and Landscaping Level 2, 3 and 4.

To learn more about our landscape construction programmes, visit Contact your local landscape construction Training Adviser on 0800 20 80 20 or email


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