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Summary of occupation

Nurserypersons propagate plants, flowers, trees and shrubs for either wholesale or retail sale, or for use in large parks and gardens. They grow plants either from seeds or from cuttings, as well as pruning and potting them. They also weed, prune, repot, irregate and fertilise plants, and ensure that they have the right conditions to grow by controlling light, temperature, humidity and watering. They may control pests by spraying stock, as well as picking and packing produce to send it to gardening retailers. Depending on where they work they may also sell plants and other gardening related goods like fertiliser and pots.

ANZSCO description: Propagates and cultivates trees, shrubs, and ornamental and flowering plants in a plant nursery.
Alternative names: Commercial Horticultural Worker, Horticultural Tradesperson
Specialisations: Plant Propagator
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A nurseryperson needs:

  • an appreciation of nature
  • good physical fitness and the ability to stand for long periods
  • practical skills and the ability to undertake manual labour
  • problem solving skills
  • organisational skills
  • record-keeping and maths skills
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Working conditions

Nurserypersons work outdoors in nurseries and fields in most weather conditions. They may also work in greenhouses or glasshouses, plant retailers or garden centres. Working conditions may be hot, dusty and dirty, or cold, wet and muddy. Greenhouses and glasshouses may be humid during summer.

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Salary details

On average, nurserypersons can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a nurseryperson develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Nurserypersons use gardening equipment and machinery, irrigation and temperature control systems, seeding, fertiliser and soil spreaders, and rolling and soil aeration equipment. They may also use inventory systems, cash registers and computers to undertake retail or administrative tasks.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a nurseryperson, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in horticulture.

The Certificate II, Certificate III and Certificate IV in Horticulture are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The horticulture worker (nursery), production nursery assistant, garden centre sales assistant or horticulture team leader traineeships usually take 12 months to complete. The horticulture worker (nursery), production nursery assistant and garden centre sales assistant traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.

You can also complete an apprenticeship. The production nursery tradesperson or retail nursery tradesperson apprenticeships usually take 36 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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