In 2020 NMIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Invest (Industry Vocational Education Services and Training) to deliver Level 2, 3 and 4 certificates in horticulture, plus some leadership and project management micro credentials (small, stand-alone qualifications that recognise specific skills).
NMIT Primary Industries Curriculum Manager Pam Wood says having Invest training solutions onboard brings substantial benefits to the students.
“When students are working, as well as studying online through NMIT, pastoral care is very important.”
“With Invest there is someone there to walk the students through their study, helping out when needed, and ensuring they are successful,” says Pam.
The relationship also builds the students’ confidence as employers are involved and partnering with their training.
Invest Directors, Grant and Brent Ingles work with employers to help determine the best training path for their staff.
“We ask businesses what they want—what their pain points are, and using our networks we help them grow their business by upskilling their staff,” Brent says.
After the partnership began Invest started offering Level 2 programmes also, something they felt was important, especially for those unfamiliar or unaware of potential training pathways.
“Level 2 covers basic tasks and health and safety responsibilities, and is an entry level for all primary industries. It’s a good opportunity for us to get employees excited about vocational training and the skills they are learning, and to encourage them to go on to the next level,” Grant says.
Brent has responsibility for the pastoral care of the trainees and says Level 2 is also a good opportunity to sort out any literacy or numeracy issues.
“We work with people who may not have had a good experience with education. So, we walk beside them, build a relationship, sow the seeds for future opportunities, and get them the support they need,” he says.
The partnership between Invest and NMIT has been working well to date with new cohorts coming on board and the majority of students progressing to the next levels.
“As a key educational partner, offering really good industry developed programmes, NMIT has been great to work with. There is positivity and flexibility on both sides and a willingness for all participants to succeed— especially the learners,” Grant says.
This is a view shared by Brent who says its important they get the right people in the right place.
“Grant and I both started out as apprentices and trained on the job, we have operated businesses and been employers. We understand primary industries and the training needs from an employer’s point of view as well as the learners. We get to reach people who may never have engaged with education before.”
“We ensure our facilitators and pastoral support team are all experienced, with strong industry backgrounds, and one of us is always in the class as back up support,” he says.
“We have a very high completion rate because we really care about our learners—they are not just a student number and a set of tasks and assignments—they’re people who often don’t realise they can take a learning pathway that benefits them, their employers and the wider community.”
See more information on Invest horticulture training and qualifications.