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New on-the-job learning!


New Amenity training programme has options galore for landscape gardeners


Featuring more choice and developed with industry, Primary ITO’s new amenity training programmes promise a more hands-on focus relevant for landscape gardeners caring for parks, gardens and open spaces.

Primary ITO Sector Manager for Sports Turf, Amenity and Nursery Tom Antscherl says a new Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Amenity Horticulture is ready to go, and a revised Level 3 certificate is close to being launched.

“We’ve developed them for people working in parks and gardens, who want to get ahead in their career by focusing on the specialist, hands-on skills needed."

These types of skills are also valuable to people working in landscaping businesses. For landscape companies who have amenity customers, the new programme will support them in understanding more about pruning, chemicals, and plant classification.

“We had strong feedback from industry that there are plenty of options for learning about people management but what was needed was specialist skills for training in amenity – it’s for people who are passionate about establishing and taking care of parks and gardens.”


Around New Zealand, about 400 people are already training in amenity horticulture and Tom says the new Level 4 programme will give them more choices to progress.

“Amenity is an extremely diverse area and an interesting one to train in because it’s so vast. You might be working in a botanic garden, a public park, a huge private garden, a commercial space or a cemetery.


“The options are huge and that means the training options have to be too. We’ve worked hard to do that, with replanting of native areas, tree health, maintaining plant collections and setting up plant displays some of our new options. These types of skills can be particularly relevant to landscapers working in primarily amenity-type facilities too.”


The variety of amenity means that people also need to have a good level of training in some areas that have their own standalone programmes – like arboriculture and sports turf. Tom says the amenity programme ensures that people can focus on the areas that are important to them, with a proportion of the training having new optional topics.

On the ground support


Primary ITO has specialist horticulture training advisers up and down the country, including people with strong industry experience in amenity who can discuss the right programme for businesses.


One of those is horticulturist, author and photographer Geoff Bryant, who wrote several books, edited many more and published upwards of 10,000 photos before turning his talents to being a training adviser.


Based in Timaru, Geoff looks after learners across landscaping, amenity, arboriculture, sports turf, indoor and outdoor fruit production, beekeeping, nursery and more.


Geoff began his career as a nursery propagator then nursery manager, before 25 years in horticultural publishing and photography. He says the new Level 4 amenity programme is a great option for people wanting hands on amenity skills more than people management.


“I’m very pleased to see that we have more choice now and we’re going back to making amenity programmes for people who are, at heart, plant enthusiasts. The emphasis has gone back to the knowledge you need in the field.”




Visit primaryito.ac.nz/amenity, phone 0800 20 80 20, or email info@primaryito.ac.nz to get in touch with your local Training Adviser.


Primary ITO Te Pūkenga also offers landscaping apprenticeships and Level 2, 3 and 4 programmes.

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