Now & Zen Landscapes Blog

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Now & Zen Landscapes’ input into national landscape industry

We are thrilled that our master landscaper Shannon Decker continues to help shape the industry into the next generation by grafting his expertise into the education of future landscapers.

Shannon was recently invited to be one of two representatives from The Landscape Association board (the other was respected TAFE NSW Northern Sydney head teacher landscape construction Judy Bates) to be part of the Skills Impact subject matter expert working group for its current national landscaping project.

Creating a national consistent standard

Skills Impact is a not-for-profit, industry-owned organisation that works across Australia to benchmark learning and skills standards for the landscape industry. This is where the national set of qualifications, skills sets and units of competence are developed and validated by industry.

Registered Training Organisations can access them for delivery and assessment of the skills required by our industry.

Through their work, learners and workplaces have access to nationally consistent skills standards and qualifications, supporting greater employment opportunities and industry competitiveness.

Shannon joined others from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia to provide valuable advice and feedback during the review of the landscaping qualifications, skill sets and units of competency within the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management Training Package.

Industry feedback was sought to ensure the package reflected industry trends, supported safe work practices and promoted clear career pathways for upcoming landscapers.

Setting benchmarks for the future

As well as reviewing five qualifications, four skill sets and 24 units of competency, Shannon and his colleague experts helped identify further job roles and gaps in the skills standards within the industry.

Shannon is especially pleased with the amount of Skills Impact course material dealing with sustainable practices and environmental care, which aligns with the Now & Zen philosophy.

A licenced landscaper and concreter with 30 years’ experience, Shannon was also recently re-elected to The Landscape Association board.

He has trained students in landscape, horticulture and concrete for six years, first with TAFE and then other private training organisations.

The process was an honour, especially given the calibre of colleagues involved.

Skills Impact industry skills standards specialist Rebecca Ford thanked Shannon for his advice and constructive feedback, and for his enthusiasm for the success of this project’’.

Preparing apprentices for employers

It makes sense to seek advice and recommendations from within the industry that will soon employ the talented young people of the future.

It’s satisfying to know that when we come to look for apprentices, they will have the theoretic training we need of them, so they understand the practical applications when they come to work with us.

Having input into industry education is like sowing seeds for a future harvest – you know that old adage “Reap what you sow’’.

Well, we want Australian landscapers to be recognised as the best in the world.

We have the capacity to do that, and Australians are known around the world to be innovative, risk takers and industry leaders.

But it’s not just Now & Zen and our competitors and peers who benefit from the honed skills of the next generation’s landscaping talent.

It’s our customers and the landscape itself as the next generation of landscapers learn how to care for the Earth and work with it rather than against it.

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