New leadership course under development for the horticulture sector

UPDATE 16 February: Public consultation is now open on this micro-credential. Read more and have your say here: Leadership micro-credential consultation.


Muka Tangata, the Workforce Development Council for the food and fibre sector, is working with horticultural sector representatives to design a new formal leadership course for emerging leaders.

The new micro-credential is being developed to replace an existing informal course that has been delivered in the horticultural sector over the last two years.

“We are responding directly to requests from industry, mainly from the horticulture sector but also from our engagement with other industries in the food and fibre sector, for a new leadership micro credential that better meets the current needs of the sector,” says Chief Executive Jeremy Baker.

“We see the benefit in designing the micro-credential so that it can be picked up and used throughout industries in the food and fibre sector.”

Kate Longman, General Manager Engagement at Horticulture New Zealand, says the new micro-credential will provide a critical link into the education system ensuring its ongoing provision and improved accessibility.

“Currently, the horticulture sector relies on AGMARDT and the Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust to subsidise the cost of the existing informal emerging leaders course. Our sector cannot rely on this funding indefinitely and needs to connect the course to the New Zealand education system,” says Longman.

“Muka Tangata has brought users and providers together to co-design an award to replace the existing informal course. When it is listed on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework, it will become a formal award that can be funded through the Tertiary Education Commission,” says Longman.

The course is targeted at supervisors who lead large seasonal teams through the busy periods experienced in horticulture production such as thinning, pruning, harvesting, packing.

“It supports the supervisor in becoming more confident in themselves and what they’re doing, enabling them to be autonomous, engaged, and everybody around them being uplifted leading to improved employment retention,” says Longman.

Pam Wood, Curriculum Manager for the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) who is part of the working group, says the new leadership micro-credential will meet changing industry needs.

“The existing NMIT micro-credential course was established during early COVID-19 at a time when a lot of people who had been in leadership roles in impacted sectors such as hospitality and tourism were moving into the primary industry. So, they needed training in that new context.

“Now we have different training needs. This includes those people who gained residency in New Zealand with the 2021 residency visa, and may be trained in leadership in other countries but who now need the New Zealand context. We also have an aging primary industries workforce with many people less able to do the more physical work, but who will make great team leaders,” says Wood.

In developing the micro-credential, the working group is being informed by the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence’s research project to support design of a leadership development ecosystem for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.

During February 2024, Muka Tangata will be seeking feedback on the draft learning outcomes for the new micro-credential, along with the level and credit value.