Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers Restoring connections in 2022

With the first half of the year already over, it is fair to say that 2022 has started with a bang for Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers. With live networking activities all but extinct during the protracted lockdowns in Melbourne, it has been a joy to see LVML members coming together, and reconnecting as a community.

Here are some of the highlights from 2022 so far:

The Landscape Show
Like a fine wine, The Landscape Show just keeps getting better each year. And this year was no exception, with 90 exhibitors, and 1300+ members of the professional landscaping community arriving at Caulfield Racecourse on Wednesday 22nd June. After two years of intermittent lockdowns and online events, the atmosphere reflected a newly energised landscaping industry keen to get back to supporting its Victorian community. LVML would like to thank all the supporters of the event this year, and in particular major sponsors StrathAyr, Milwaukee Tools and SmartWater for backing what has become one of the standout events on the Victorian landscaping calendar.

Attracting new talent to the industry
LVML is committed to maintaining a sustainable stream of new landscaping talent, which means seeking opportunities to get in front of young people, and sharing insights about careers in landscaping.

This year, LVML participated in the inaugural The Trades Fit – Young Women in Trades and Tech expo, hosted by the Victorian Department of Education and Training. The expo showcases employment options within the trades and tech industries, introducing predominantly female students in years 9 and 10 to career pathways in traditionally male dominated industries.

The event was an occasion to bring together some talented young women working in the landscaping industry to connect with the students and share some of their own experiences as landscaping professionals. Feedback has been exceptional, and LVML looks forward to promoting the benefits of a career in landscaping at future careers expos.

Mental Wellbeing Initiative
Recognising the need to support the mental health of its members, LVML is developing a strategic initiative aimed to support the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of its member community, and safeguard the psychological safety of all practitioners within the landscaping industry – from apprentices through to business owners.

Australian research has identified construction workers as being at risk of suicide. As a subset of the construction sector, landscaping professionals are also particularly vulnerable, as business owners and their workers battle the escalating pressures of staff shortages, rising costs, and the persistently growing public demand for their services.

Working in collaboration with the mental health charity, the This Is A Conversation Starter program will respond to these challenges by making industry-specific support resources accessible to Members and their staff via an online Wellbeing Hub, as well as supporting members to introduce dedicated Wellbeing Ambassadors within their own businesses.

Australian-first TAFE course for landscape designers
After almost four years in development, on the 16th April, the Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, officially announced a $1.29 million investment to deliver the new Advanced Landscape Design and Construction course as part of the Workforce Training and Innovation Fund, successfully granted to Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers.

LVML has long been campaigning for the introduction of a recognised advanced skill set for landscape designers because there are currently no courses that offer a combination of extensive design and construction skills in the one qualification. At the moment, recent graduates face employment barriers due to their lack of knowledge, and more broadly even skilled Landscape Designers are limited in the services they can provide.

The Project will provide an innovative approach to upskilling currently qualified Landscape Designers who are working in the industry and need the skills and knowledge to meet industry standards and operate as registered practitioners in their field. The concept and grant application has been in the pipeline for a long time and its introduction heralds a step forward in LVML’s long-term plan to allow landscape designers to be recognised as approved providers and streamline the planning process by removing red-tape for council plans and permits.

Working alongside Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, Melbourne Polytechnic and Swinburne University of Technology, the course will be developed with input by a broad array of industry experts and is designed to scaffold as an additional level of accreditation to existing Certificate IV and Diploma Landscape Design courses.

It is intended that the course will be ready to be delivered in pilot mode at the beginning of 2023 with 36 practicing landscapers undertaking the pilot program. Once complete, the course will then be open to enrolments through partner TAFE Colleges in 2024.

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