Daniel Ewings, Andreasens Green

AU: Supporting business growth through formal education

Daniel Ewings knows a thing or two about managing a production nursery. His formative working years were spent doing an apprenticeship at Andreasens Green and despite working in the United Kingdom and in other roles within the horticulture industry, he has twice returned to Andreasens.

Today, Daniel is the national operations manager for the business, responsible for production, finance, human resourcing and marketing. With 150 acres of production area across four sites in New South Wales and Queensland, it’s a lot of responsibility.

In order to continue to develop personally, and keep the business thriving at the same time, Daniel recognises the importance of formal education, outside of the invaluable but ad-hoc on-the-job

“Education has always been important to me, ever since I did my first apprenticeship at age 17. There are just some things that can’t be taught on the job. I’ve completed all available levels of Horticultural
Studies at TAFE and taken additional courses along the way. Every step has taught me something new which I’ve been able to apply to my work,” Daniel said.

It’s this devotion to education that saw Daniel apply for a Masterclass in Horticultural Business Scholarship for the 2020 intake.

Facilitated by the University of Tasmania (UTAS), the Hort Masterclass is a ten-month course undertaken predominantly online. It offers a
comprehensive and accessible program to those looking to accelerate their careers in the horticultural sector.

According to Daniel, the Hort Masterclass is set to turbocharge his development and he expects the business to reap the rewards. “The Hort Masterclass program is simply next-level. It is university-grade, practical, formal and in-depth. The modules are specifically targeted to horticulture businesses, which is a unique industry that you don’t find in many general textbooks and courses.”

The Hort Masterclass delivers a range of key modules such as financial management and law, supply chain management and logistics, people and culture, and business development and strategy.
Specifically, it’s the module on financial management that Daniel expects will help propel both his career and the business into its next phase of growth.

Covering everything from cost-benefit analysis, strategic analysis, risk management and gross margin analysis, the module has helped Daniel to push ahead with modernisation plans for Andreasens Green.

In fact, he has used the course to help finalise an investment proposal for workplace automation, with the module providing him with the financial literacy to develop a compelling business case to the board
which is grounded in real financial insights.

The program is delivered smoothly and professionally, and Daniel says that the accessibility of lecturers makes it perfect for busy students.

“I am running end-to-end management across four different sites. This means I am rarely sitting at a desk during the day, if I’m not out in the nursery, attending meeting, chatting with customers and suppliers I am in the car travelling between sites. I also have a young family, so my free time is limited and unpredictable,” said Daniel.

“Nevertheless, the online nature of the course and the accessibility of the lecturers means that I could study for the qualification at my own times and on my own terms.”

But the Hort Masterclass is just one project which focuses on investing in the industry’s greatest resource – it’s people. Daniel is also on the steering committee for the new strategic levy funded project, Developing nursery career pathways (NY19006). Led by RMCG Consulting Group and Greenlife Industry Australia, this project is focused on boosting career development within the nursery industry and attracting the best talent.

Daniel’s role on the steering committee of the project is to ensure that the project is shaped by insights from the industry itself. “We want to make our industry a first-choice for school leavers. The industry is a fantastic place to grow your career and opportunities like the Hort Masterclass help support that,” said Daniel.

“There is a lot to be proud of working in the nursery industry, and there’s many reasons why young people should be considering the industry as a great place to work. Outside of the day-to-day work, the
greenlife industry is in the box-seat to promote itself as one of the leaders in reducing impacts of climate change, something we know young people are passionate about.”

Regardless of the specific project or course, Daniel believes it’s imperative that the industry continues to invest in its people. “Whether it be the next generation of horticulturalists, or our current industry leaders, we should all be doing what we can do provide our people with the right mix of on-the-job training and formal education to help them be the best they can be,” said Daniel.

“Not only will you see them grow as a person, but our individual businesses will reap the rewards too.”

For more information on the program, scholarships, and to apply, head to: utas.edu.au/tia/study/masterclass-in-horticulturalbusiness 

The Hort Masterclass is part of the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund, a Hort Innovation strategic partnership initiative that uses a combination of government and partner funding to address major issues facing the future of Australian horticulture for the benefit of the entire industry.

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