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Students taste booming horticulture industry

Around 280 Western BOP students participated in the annual Cultivate Your Career event today to become inspired by the Bay of Plenty’s booming horticulture industry. The event introduces secondary school students to industry professionals, exposing them to the skills they need to transition from school into horticulture employment.

Students toured local companies ranging from Xerra Space Observation Institute where they investigated how moisture in soil can be measured from Space through to Savvy HR where they learnt about how and where their attributes might fit into the workplace.

Event organiser Renee Fritchley of NZKGI says, “Cultivate Your Career is a great opportunity to display the high-level careers in a range of scientific, technical and commercial areas. We love surprising students about the cutting-edge industries right here in the Bay of Plenty. The science lab at Eurofins and the automation at Apata and MPAC are great examples of how the kiwifruit industry is progressing into the future.”

Students were transported from schools around Tauranga, Te Puke, Katikati and Waihi. Each bus had two industry ambassadors on board who talked to the students about their own careers in horticulture. Students spent over an hour at each business, undertaking viewing aspects such as honey processing at BeeNZ and the latest in packing technology at Jenkins Freshpac Systems. They also learnt about the associated careers available in the industry.

Horticulture is New Zealand’s fourth largest primary industry with an export revenue increasing steadily each year from $1.7 billion in 1999 to around $5.5 billion in 2018. Cultivate Your Career is an example of the Bay of Plenty’s horticulture industry comes together to ensure there will be enough skilled labour for this growth in the future.

A second Cultivate Your Career event will take place later in the year when students from the Eastern Bay of Plenty will have the opportunity to visit leading horticultural businesses on their very own back doorstep.

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