Students are being encouraged to join thriving food and fibre sectors

Lincoln University is joining forces with Massey University, Horticulture NZ and DairyNZ to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the thriving food and fibre sectors.

The organisations are running careers events in a variety of regions throughout the country over the next two months.

The series, called Feed Your Future, provides opportunities for Year 11 and 12 students and their parents to hear from young industry professionals and visit agricultural and horticultural businesses.

Lincoln University Domestic Engagement Manager Jaime Shone said the initiative is in line with the Government’s commitment to encourage 10,000 more New Zealanders into the sector over the next four years.

“The food and fibre sectors desperately need more qualified professionals and this collaboration is about helping students to understand the broad range of careers they could pursue in this area,” she said.

“There’s an increasing demand for university-educated people in business, science roles, agriculture and food manufacturing, as well as horticulture and laboratory staff.

“These industries provide products that the world needs and are expected to continue to create many new employment opportunities in the coming years.

“At Lincoln, we design our programmes with input from major employers, so graduates have the industry-specific knowledge and hands-on experience they need to make a real difference in the areas of their choice.”

Massey University Head of the School of Agriculture and Environment, Professor Paul Kenyon, said the event offers a great opportunity for people wanting to know more about the agriculture sector.

“We’re encouraged by increased enrolments in our agriculture, horticulture and environmental offerings at Massey, which show that people see it as a stable industry to get into and they realise there is a breadth of opportunities for individuals – depending on their interests.

“Not only do these industries need intelligent, inquisitive minds to help lift productivity and creativity, they need to do this in a sustainable, responsible and environmentally and animal welfare friendly manner. There is a unique opportunity for students, via their career choice, to help shape the future of New Zealand.”

Horticulture New Zealand Capability Manager Emma Boase praised the collaborative effort of the four organisations, along with the horticulture sector’s GotHort Career Progression Manager team, for making the Feed Your Future events possible.

“We see these attraction events as being an effective way to help high school students around Aotearoa identify the exciting and highly skilled career opportunities that exist throughout our vibrant food and fibre sector,” she said.

DairyNZ Industry Education Facilitator Susan Stokes said the dairy sector is among those industries that offer career options to suit a range of interests and skillsets.

“These career events are a great chance for students to hear from young professionals about their experiences and the exciting future the sector has to help feed the world.

“We want to open people’s eyes to the opportunities available. Talented and passionate people will help us succeed and maintain our reputation as a trusted food producing nation.”

Feed Your Future includes events in Northland (18 May), Timaru (19 May), Southland (20 May), Hawke’s Bay (2 June), Tauranga (8 June), Waikato (9 June) and Nelson (10 June).

An evening event called Careers Chat (taking place in Northland, Timaru, Southland and Tauranga) allows students and their parents to hear from panels of young professionals working in the food and fibre sectors.

A full-day event called Student Day Out (offered in Hawke’s Bay, Waikato and Nelson) involves visits to both agricultural and horticultural businesses to take part in hands-on activities.

Source:  Lincoln University

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog