4 Feb 2011

Demand for qualified horticulture workers

6:45 am on 4 February 2011

The organiser of a marae-based horticulture course in Flaxmere says the industry is screaming out for qualified workers.

Henare O'Keefe says he was approached by large Hawke's Bay growers who want to hire locally rather than bring in people from overseas on seasonal contracts.

Waatea News reports that has resulted in 30 trainees on a 42 week course, with any part time work they get in the industry cross-credited to their qualification.

"At the end of the 42 weeks, they will be genuine jobs awaiting them," said Mr O'Keefe.

"I also said to them to think about owning the orchards, to add some zeros to their thinking."

Mr O'Keefe says many of the trainees were long term unemployed.