FREE | Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme [Level 3 – 4]

Study Options



3 1/2 years (Hawke's Bay) | 2 years (Tairāwhiti)


Level 3 - 4

Grow your career

The EIT Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme is designed for people working in the fruit industry to gain formal qualifications and improve all aspects of their theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. The apprenticeship programme is supported by industry and can lead to a worthwhile career. You will learn about pests and diseases, machinery, soils, irrigation and other relevant skills.

Please note: You must be committed to be employed within the fruit production industry for the duration of the programme. Those who are currently employed in a horticulture business, and also those interested in combining this programme with employment in the fruit production industry are invited to apply.


You have to commit yourself to working in the fruit production industry for the duration of the programme.

Block courses will be operated from EIT, orchard properties, with learning being directed by growers, industry experts and qualified EIT staff. You are expected to attend all scheduled classes. In busier times of the year some alternatives may be available for planning around work.

Block courses will teach theory that underpins on-job practices in the work environment. Some tasks will be assessed on-the-job as well. In this way, on-campus courses and on-the-job learning will complement each other as much as possible.

By the end of the Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme you will have completed the following approved NZQA qualifications:

  • NZ Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills (with optional Specialist Equipment and Infrastructure strands) [Level 3] 40-60 credits

and through a Managed Apprenticeship:

  • NZ Certificate in Horticulture (Fruit Production) [Level 3] 75 credits
  • NZ Certificate in Horticulture (Fruit Production) [Level 4] 90 credits

Year One

You will complete the NZ Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills (with optional Specialist Equipment and Infrastructure strands) [Level 3] in your first year of study.

The Level 3 qualification focuses on agri-vehicles, machinery and infrastructure such as tractors, light utility vehicles, fencing support structures, irrigation, mowers and chainsaws.

Year Two

In your second year of study you will complete the NZ Certificate in Horticulture (Fruit Production) [Level 3]. This qualification will provide you with the skills and knowledge in pest and diseases, pruning, agrichemicals, digital tools, irrigation, soils and team work.

Direct entry to Year Two may be granted for applicants with significant orchard experience.

Year Three

The NZ Certificate in Horticulture Production (Fruit Production) [Level 4] will be completed in your final year and will cover the implementation and monitoring of fruit crops to achieve production goals and standards through orchard operations, protection and management techniques.

As a graduate of the programme you will be able to pursue a professional career as an Orchard Leading Hand, Foreman, Manager or future Owner/Operator. In particular, the programme is designed to:

  • Raise skill levels of horticultural staff
  • Provide stimulating collegial support for workers in horticulture
  • Offer work-place based training with supported theory study at EIT
  • Provide a pathway for ongoing and further study in horticulture

Career Opportunities and Outcomes

Possible jobs and career opportunities can include:

  • Orchard Leading Hand
  • Foreman
  • Manager
  • Future Owner/Operator

On successful completion of the Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme you may choose to continue your studies by enrolling in the:

  • NZ Diploma in Horticulture Production (Fruit Production) [Level 5]



EIT Hawke’s Bay

There is one entry date per year:

  • January (please contact the Programme Coordinator for other entry points: Clare Buckner, phone 06 830 1122, email )

EIT Tairāwhiti

Various start dates throughout the year. Please contact the Programme Coordinator, Andrew Baker, phone 06 869 3012, email to register your interested and find out more.


Entry Requirements

English Language Entry Requirement

Entry with Credit

Academic Learning Services

Academic Learning Services is here to assist you on your journey towards the successful completion of your studies at EIT. Our aim is for you to become confident, competent and independent learners.

We have dedicated advisors who can assist with your learning.

Find out more:

Hawke’s Bay Campus
Tairāwhiti Campus




EIT offers a variety of scholarships across various subjects and programme levels.  Some scholarships are based on your age, some are specific to the subject you want to study.  Not all scholarships are based on your academic ability and anyone wanting to study should investigate what scholarships are available to them.  

You can find a list of EIT scholarships here however there are many more scholarships offered nationally.  Information about these is on an database called “givME”. givME is accessible at EIT or at some public libraries. If you would like to come to EIT to look through the giveME database don’t hesitate to contact or call in for a chat.