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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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Published: 21 May 2019

Sally Dakis

In response to industry needs, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is offering a new mid-year intake and part-time study options for its highly regarded Masterclass in Horticultural Business.

As the only course of its kind in Australia, the national program provides practical business skills for horticulture managers across the country – from landscape nursery operators in Northern Queensland, broccoli suppliers in Western Australia to cherry exporters in Tasmania.

This year, even more members of the industry will have the chance to boost their leadership skills, with the online course offering more flexible study options to cater to participants needs.

TIA Associate Professor Alistair Gracie said the Masterclass had been tailor-made for industry and being responsive to the needs of participants was at its core.

“Since the course started in 2017, we have continued to receive strong, positive feedback from graduates with tangible benefits to participants, companies and the wider horticulture sector,” Associate Professor Gracie said.

“However, one of the challenges that people working in horticulture face is the seasonality of workload, which can make it difficult to commit to studying full-time.

“Adding mid-year intakes and part-time study options will ensure our course is accessible to as many people as possible.

“This will enable us to train more people each year and provide flexibility to meet their personal and professional needs.”

Sally Dakis, from Richmond Cherries in Tasmania, participated in the Masterclass in 2018 and said the course helped determine the future direction of her business.

"I knew we wanted to reshape our cherry farming business, and completing the Horticultural Masterclass gave me a framework and a focus to do that,” Ms Dakis said.

"After taking the course I felt confident for our business to head in a new direction, knowing that we have covered our bases, from financial assessment, knowing the right way to recruit and manage the people who will be part of the business, to knowing what our 'value proposition' will be.

"Having lived most of my life in rural Australia, I found being able to study remotely was a game changer.  

“Now being able to do the course in a flexible way, working around busy harvest times will be even better.”

Applications are now open for students wishing to commence in July 2019. People working in a variety of horticultural sectors are encouraged to apply for industry-supported scholarships worth $10,000 each.

The Masterclass was developed with expertise from the University of Tasmania, Wageningen Academy in the Netherlands and New Zealand’s Lincoln University. It is supported with funding from Hort Innovation.

Get more information or email hort.bus@utas.edu.au