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Horticulture

Overview

Horticulture is one of Australia's fastest-growing industries, closely linked to urban development and lifestyle. It includes maintaining parks, gardens, golf courses, as well as plant nurseries and landscaping.

Sectors in the industry

  • Horticulture involves growing plants, sometimes described as ‘gardening and landscaping’
  • Arboriculture covers all things related to trees including their management and removal
  • Floriculture includes growing and harvesting flowers commercially, and also processing flower seeds, foliage and essential oil crops
  • Landscaping is a broad sector that can focus on ‘hardscape’ construction, often linked to the construction industry, and ‘softscape’ involving approaches to plant use, landscape development and the provision of technical advice.
  • Nursery work covers plant production, wholesale and retail nurseries, which can involve providing customer sales and advice
  • Parks and Gardens focuses on management and maintenance of public and private parks and gardens as well as natural bushland   
  • Sports Turf Management covers both the growing and sale of turf, and the care and management of sports turf for golf courses, bowling greens, pitch preparation, race tracks and recreational playing fields.

Employer profile for industry

There are 11,051 gardening businesses and 14,751 landscape construction businesses in Australia.

Arborists are generally small operators, servicing local or regional communities.

Source: Skills Impact Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry Sector Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017–2020

There are 500 employers in the nursery production sector. 90% of them are small businesses employing less than 20 people. There are 270 employers in the turf growing sector. Only 20 of them employ more than 20 people. There are 330 employers in the floriculture sector. Less than 10% employ more than 20 people.

Source: ABS, Counts of Australian Businesses, Jun 2012 to Jun 2016

There are 11,400 people working in Nursery and Floriculture Production. This category includes those working in turf growing.

Source: Department of Jobs and Small Business Industry Projections - Five Years to November 2020.

Typical features of the workforce

  • Gardeners make up 46% of the gardening services sector and 45% of the landscape services sector. The next two most common occupations are garden and nursery labourers and fencers.

Source: Skills Impact Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry Sector Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017–2020

  • There are 64,300 gardeners in employment across all sectors, and this number is expected to rise to 71,000 by 2020. Women make up only 10% of the workforce, and 73% of work is full time. The most common level of education attainment is Certificate III or IV.
  • There are 35,700 garden and nursery labourers in employment, and this number is expected to rise slightly by 2020. Women make up 14% of the workforce, and 62% of work is full time. The most common level of education attainment is Year 11 and 10.
  • There are 7,000 fencers in employment, and this number is expected to fall slightly by 2020. Almost all fencers are male, and 86% of work is full time. The most common level of education attainment is Year 12.

Source: Australian Government Job Outlook website

Emerging sectors, future growth

Climate change and soil degradation are factors that agricultural producers will increasingly have to deal with. There are opportunities for adapting to the impacts of changed weather patterns through improved farming technologies and practices. For example, ongoing discoveries in biotechnology can benefit the environment through alternative species and hybrids that are salt tolerant and resistant to drought, disease and pest species.

Advances in chemicals used by growers and producers may allow for better management of pests, weeds, drought and disease, ensuring the sustainability and profitability of the industry, and quality products for consumers.

Source: Skills Impact Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry Sector Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017–2020

Jobs in Demand

Arborists have been identified as being in skill shortage on the Skill Shortage List Australia 2016, Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Licensed occupations and registrations

Arborists do not need a licence to practise arboriculture in Australia, yet WorkCover, the Tree Contractors Association of Australia, Arboriculture Australia and the Local Government Tree Resources Association recommend that professional arborists meet several requirements, including having minimum qualifications of Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture) for carrying out ground and climbing work, and Certificate III in Horticulture (Arboriculture) for supervising climbing work.

Work Health and Safety (WHS) is important in all workplaces. Safe Work Australia provides links to all state and territory information.

Want to look in detail at some related sectors?

Key Occupations

Arborist

Landscape Gardener

 

This industry is positioned in the following groups

Industry

Gardening, Farming, Animals & Environment

Work Type

Practical & Manual

Analytic & Scientific

Ready to see where Horticulture can take you?

Career Pathways

Horticulture (as part of the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry) has career pathways from Certificate II through to Diploma.  Look at the Job Pathway Chart to see what is of interest.

Job Pathway Chart

Practice Aptitude Quiz

This resource illustrates the maths and literacy needed to complete the entry level training in this sector.

Download The Quiz
 

Darcy - Apprentice Landscaper

Play video
 

Emmett - Apprentice Arborist

Play video
 

Jacqueline - School-based Parks & Gardens Trainee

Play video
 

Shane - Apprentice Green Keeper

Play video

Support Services

Further Research

Information

Industry information is published by peak level associations, government and major employers.  Accessing industry association sites, including member lists, is a good way of building up an understanding of an industry.  Visiting employer websites and looking for careers or employment menus helps identify how employers recruit and the skills they are recruiting.

Use Google to search for the associations and organisations listed below. 

Industry

  • Landscaping Australia
  • Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association
  • Nursery and Garden Industry Australia
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia

Other useful links

  • Rural Careers
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources