16 February 2012

The University of Queensland will this week recognise the qualifications of 33 people working in the Production Horticulture industry in the Lockyer Valley.

These individuals have completed Certificate and Diploma programs in Production Horticulture and Rural Business Management through The University of Queensland's Gatton Vocational Education Centre (G-VEC).

The jointly funded (Federal and State Governments) Productivity Places Program (PPP) has funded the initiative to upskill existing workers in the production horticulture sector.

Director of G-VEC Mark Pace says that this is a worthwhile initiative.

"This program is essential in providing formal qualifications to the producers that give the Lockyer Valley its excellent reputation of being the salad-bowl of South-East Queensland," said Mr Pace.

"We have had a variety of people taking part in this program from the family run enterprises to managers of large production companies."

"Feedback from our participants indicates that they have gained a sense of achievement due to the recognition of their specialised skills," he said.

Diploma of Production Horticulture graduate Brendan Dipple has worked on the land his whole life and he values receiving recognition for the skills he has learnt throughout his career.

"Taking part in the program has given me the opportunity to take stock of what I know and identify areas that I need to do more training," Mr Dipple said.

"It ensures that I have a piece of paper that supports the knowledge and practical skills I have gained which will assist me if I am looking to move within the Agricultural industry."

"It is a very rewarding industry that although it has its challenges it provides great satisfaction and keeps you healthy!" he said.

This program has been brokered and sponsored by the Queensland Rural Industry Training Council Inc. (QRITC).

Graduation from these programs is at UQ Gatton from 2-4pm on Friday 17 February in Building 8103, lecture theatre 132.

If you are interested in taking part in courses offered by G-VEC please contact the office on (07) 5460 1353.

Media: Erin Pearl 0409 265 587 or e.pearl@uq.edu.au