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Primary ITO provides vital updates

Registered Master Landscapers has followed through on its pledge to give members more value by hosting Primary ITO at its February regional meet-ups

Discussion at the Wellington meet-up, led by Primary ITO – which is part of Te Pūkenga – centred around the changes being made to training, apprenticeship funding, and landscaper’s experiences regarding employing overseas workers.

“If you employ apprentices, or are considering expanding your workforce this year, the meetings were a must-attend,” said RML chair Janine Scott.

Changes to the NZA

Leading the discussion was Wellington based Training Adviser Jason Foster from Primary ITO, who kicked things off by detailing the changes made to the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Landscape Construction.

“Level three is remaining the same, but we’re adding four more units to level four. It’s currently a 28-month apprenticeship, but it will be increased to 32 months. At the moment, level four is 70 credits, but will be expanded to 120 credits.”

Jason said this will allow learners longer on the tools and provide further experience before qualifying. It aims to produce more proficient apprenticeship graduates.

Jason confirmed that anyone enrolled from September 2022 will take on the extra four units during their level four study. See facing page for details Jason also said that Primary ITO would be hosting additional training days to help learners nail tricky subjects.

“We’ll be hosting training days that cover the communications papers, timber, drainage and reinforced concrete and plant ID,” added Jason.

Funding explained

The Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), which supported learners to undertake vocational education and training without fees, ended on 31 December 2022. However, Jason explained that several other avenues of support are available to landscapers.

“Apprentices can still access Fees Free funding and employers can still access the Apprenticeship Boost. However, it is up to the learner to apply for Fees Free funding and the amount available through the Apprenticeship Boost is now $500 a month.”

If an apprentice is eligible, their training (which costs $1,994 for the course) will be free for two years. The Apprenticeship Boost, which was introduced in August 2020 and extended in May 2022, albeit at a lower amount for the first year, is available until December 2023. Employers can claim $500 per month, per trainee, until the end of the scheme.

Workplace assessors

“We’re encouraging landscapers to sign up as workplace assessors,” added Jason. “While it won’t allow their apprentices to complete their training any faster, it will give them more support while on the job.”

A workplace assessor will be able to help an apprentice with their units, as well as assess and allocate work.

“For example, a learner can hand in some work and a workplace assessor can tell them where they need to provide more evidence. Or, a workplace assessor can vouch for a learner’s competency, and sign off a unit as long as all tasks required are met.”

To become a workplace assessor, a landscaper needs:

  • To have worked in the industry for at least six years or be a qualified landscaper.

  • Complete the work required for a 4098-assessment certificate, either at a training day or online.

  • Pay the $300 fee.

Learners on work visas

Migrant workers on work visas in the landscape sector can be funded to undertake learning due to the landscape industry having a sector agreement explained Jason. However, they can’t be enrolled on a course that has a duration longer than their visa.

According to information provided by New Zealand-licensed immigration advisers Aims Global, businesses do not need accreditation to employ workers on partnership, post-study or working holiday visas.

However, if a company wishes to hire an overseas worker on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, they must obtain accreditation from Immigration New Zealand.

Active learners

There are currently 438 trainee landscapers enrolled in an apprenticeship nationwide.

According to Jason, added that the average age of the apprentices enrolled in the program is older, with many coming to landscaping a few years after leaving school.

“We see a lot of young people moving into our industry in their early 20s, who have had some time working out what they want to do with their careers first.”

Not that RML businesses want to rule out employing school leavers. Onlandscapes co-founder and director Ollie Newman says they don’t leave any recruitment stone unturned, and suggests a way to encourage school leavers into the industry is via career days at high schools.

“We went to one at Riccarton High School and it was awesome,” he said at the Wellington meeting. “There were heaps of other trades there – plumbers, painters, builders – so it makes sense for us to be there too and seen as a viable industry to enter straight after school.”

Registered Master Landscapers is committed to supporting landscape professionals and young future leaders.

For more information contact CEO Janine Scott on or phone 0275 444 090


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