Find out about the training and qualifications available.
As you pursue a career in the flower industry, be aware of the importance of developing a strong foundation of learning along the way. For any position or section of the industry in which you aim to work, gaining appropriate skills and knowledge through practical experience and formal training is recommended.
When it comes to learning, your career path can take you through a wide range of experiences, from training on the ground, through to study at the certificate and diploma levels, all the way through to a PhD in a specific area of expertise. Training providers such as TAFE, universities and private training companies can provide information about educational options and qualifications. It is best to choose training opportunities that are nationally recognised and that have been developed through consultation with the industry. Registered training organisations (RTOs) are training providers that have been registered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Options for courses, vocational education and training (VET), apprenticeships and traineeships vary from state to state and between educational institutions. It is therefore advised that you contact those relevant to your situation and do background research on the opportunities as you plan your career pathway.
In the production area, knowledge is required about how the plants grow, their nutritional needs, how to protect them from pests, diseases and weeds, and how to plant, maintain and harvest them. Hands-on training will be required for the complex range of tasks that are involved in working on a farm, such as equipment installation, use and maintenance, or applying water and treatments to the crop. Opportunities available at the time of writing include a Certificate II or Certificate III in Floriculture, which can provide training in floriculture work, while training at higher levels can offer additional skills in supervising staff and business management. Qualifications or skill sets can be tailored to particular growers, areas or production cycles in some cases.
To work in the earlier stages of the crop production chain in the area of propagation and breeding, you may need training in micropropagation and tissue culture techniques. Depending on your interests, you may wish to pursue science or applied science higher degrees for work areas that require a high level of knowledge about plant biology or other areas related to crop production. Higher level degrees will also allow you to work in industry development roles, including research, training and education.
Grower groups are an important networking and training option in floriculture, as are workshops, seminars and other industry opportunities. As a grower of a flower or foliage crop, it is important that you always remain aware of events in your area and take advantage of the chance to network with other industry members. Industry events will often incorporate multiple aspects of the flower supply chain, allowing people to meet and learn about each other’s work environment and requirements.
Wholesalers, importers/exporters and others in the flower supply chain need business management skills and training, as well as knowledge of how to maintain the quality of the product. Cut products are susceptible to changes in temperature and other factors, so those handling them throughout the distribution chain must understand how to maintain optimum quality. The retail and floristry parts of the chain also require good product knowledge, in addition to design, creative and marketing skills. At the time of writing, training options include Certificate II, Certificate III and Certificate IV in Floristry and Diploma of Floristry Design, which incorporate skills from basic sales assistance and florist store work through to specialist floral design, staff supervision and business management. In addition to structured learning, florists need to participate in floral demonstrations, workshops and other events to share ideas and keep up with current trends.