Hort Innovation delivers leadership development opportunities to assist Australian growers 

Hort Innovation is encouraging growers around Australia to apply for a range of levy-funded leadership development opportunities.

2021 Nuffield Scholar Michael Densham

2021 Nuffield Scholar Michael Densham

Chief executive officer Brett Fifield said the grower-owned organisation is delivering more than A$6m in development initiatives for the horticultural sector right now, with new opportunities on offer.

“We know workforce and skills development are both key to Australian horticulture’s prosperity, with projections showing the sector could reach $20 billion by 2030,” Fifield said.

“To keep pace with growth and balance the opportunities industry is facing is a challenge. We have heard a clear message from Australian horticulture that investments to bolster business practices and the next generation of leaders have never been more relevant.

“Our training opportunities are bespoke to growers’ businesses and offer the chance to learn about best-practice internationally and build networks that support learning from and sharing with peers.”

Opportunities on offer right now include Multiple $35,000 Nuffield Scholarships on offer to individuals involved in apple and pear, avocado, onion, raspberry and blackberry, and vegetable production. This unique program offers participants the opportunity to learn best-practice from a global network of leaders in their fields. Applications for 2024 close on Friday 9 June 2023.

Multiple scholarships for the Horticulture National Lean Leaders Program are on offer to employees of apple and pear, onion, raspberry and blackberry, and vegetable levy paying businesses. The leadership course seeks to educate participants on how to lead and sustain continuous improvement in their workplace. Applications for 2023 close Thursday 11 May 2023.

Multiple scholarships for the International Fresh Produce Association Produce Executive Program are on offer to vegetable growers to attend the IFPA Executive Program May 21-26, 2023. Applications for 2023 close Tuesday 9 May 2023.

Michael Densham, who runs a mixed-production organic farm that produces a diverse range of organic vegetables and cut flowers, received a 2021 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Hort Innovation and said a week doesn’t go by in which he doesn’t call upon a lesson, skill or insight he gained through the programme.

“Since beginning my Nuffield Scholarship, I have travelled to seven countries, visited more than 80 farms throughout the world, and made friends for life,” Densham said. “I have developed a deep appreciation for the breadth and diversity of global agriculture and gained a powerful and practical skill set to use in my business. Don’t think twice, apply now.”

A range of levy-funded initiatives also exist for growers to boost their leadership skills. For example, the melon industry have a suite of opportunities available such as the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation TRAIL course Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, AICD Foundations of Directorship Course, Melbourne Business School Leadership Program, Horticulture National Lean Leaders course (also available to the turf industry) and the AICD Company Directors course.

Emerging leaders in the industry are also a focus, with initiatives such as the Sweetpotato Emerging Leaders Program and Turf NextGen Program underway to support participants through a range of networking, mentoring and training opportunities.