My Job Title is Production / Maintenance manager for a large Nurseries company.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
I run a team of 25 staff, it is our function to complete all stock production and maintenance requirements for our 50 acre site . A major part of my role is also operations activities such as Work Health and Safety compliance, HR and forward planning.
Why did you decide to become a Production / Maintenance manager in Horticulture?
I wanted a career in Horticulture after completing my HSC in 1997; I have worked in different areas of Horticulture over the years. I have been with my present company for ten years now and my role has evolved into what it is today.
What path did you take into it?
I started in Horticulture as an apprentice and completed training with TAFE NSW.
What, in your opinion, is the best bit of being a Production / Maintenance manager in Horticulture?
These days I have a great mix of working with plants and people; growing and developing people is as much a part of my job as growing plants. I love that mix and find it very rewarding.
Every job has its downsides. What do you think are the worst bits?
Working in all weather conditions can be an issue… people say you are so lucky to work outside, which is true until it’s raining or 40º, or -1º. Also, working to limited budgets can be frustrating.
Is it what you expected when you first started out – and what’s different?
When I started I always thought I would be hands on with the plants… now that I am in my current position that is not the case. I think as you progress in any trade, moving away from a hands-on position is inevitable if you want to be a manager.
What do the public least understand – or mistake – about what you do?
The public think we are out playing with flowers and having a play in the soil. What we do is Production Horticulture; we are like a giant outdoor factory for plants. The work is hard, fast and process driven.
What kind of people tend to do well?
Firstly you must have a passion for plants and the outdoors! You will do well in this industry if you enjoy hard work and like working in a team. To get to the top of this industry you need to be a highly organised person and a people person.
Finally, any advice you’d offer to people looking to get into this line of work?
If you are looking to make a change into Horticulture my advice would be to do some work experience in the industry first so you get a feel for it before you jump in. TAFE offers the best hands-on learning experience when it comes to training; this can be completed during the day, through evening classes or by distance education.
As I have said before, if you have a passion for plants and a genuine love of growing living things then you will find this industry very rewarding and easy to progress in.