AUSTRALIA has developed what is believed to be the world’s first formal qualifications to be a greengrocer.
A new “greengrocery qualification”, developed in Melbourne, aims to enable workers to gain a formal qualification with career pathways within the industry.
The Certificates II and III in Greengrocery, which have been developed in partnership between Melbourne Polytechnic, the Melbourne Market Authority and a team of highly skilled greengrocers, are designed to give students practical experience.
Melbourne Polytechnic service delivery manager at Melbourne Market Authority, Fotina Babalis, said there will be multiple benefits from the course.
“There are a number of outcomes, but one of the most important outcomes is that we have employees that will be trained to work and remain within the wholesale or retail arm of greengrocery,” Ms Babalis said.
“It has been very challenging to retain employees; [store owners] would train them in-house and they’d work for a while and then they’d leave for other opportunities.”
She said it's something the industry has been needing for some time.
“This industry has a high turnover of staff and so we are hoping that by undertaking these courses, staff can be properly trained and be retained throughout the industry,” Ms Babalis said.
Students will emerge from the program with the confidence and ability to identify and understand the different varieties of fruit and vegetables, talk about the produce and give advice to customers.
They'll understand how to package and display the items, how to handle and store produce as well as placing purchase orders.
The training program was launched at the World Union of Wholesale Market Congress, which was hosted for the first time in Melbourne in October last year.
The certificates are open to anyone, from school leavers to those already with a foot in the industry, and include work placement opportunities.
Ms Babalis said it was particularly exciting to see the course so close to accepting its first cohort and kicking off classes in February 2018.
“It's really exciting. It's been more than a year in the making,” she said.
- This story first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.
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