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Future of New Zealand agriculture in good hands

Smarter farming co-operative Ravensdown has launched a second intake to its development programme after an increasing number of talented applicants.

With increasing pressures facing farming, Ravensdown is seeking applicants committed to making a positive contribution to the country’s agriculture sector. For the first time in the programme’s five-year history, Ravensdown has accepted an applicant with no formal tertiary qualification.

“While the programme is aimed at supporting qualified participants into full-time work, it’s also about finding the right person for the right job,” says Ravensdown training manager and mentor Gordon McCormick.

“Knowledge and passion for the agricultural industry is a large determining factor in who we choose for the programme and this participant is just as qualified as the others.

“What has impressed me is that all participants have a strong sense of responsibility to help the sector adapt and thrive in the face of significant disruption. The calibre is high, which is encouraging, and it’s great to see the talent that’s coming down the pipeline.”

Meet the participants

Aaron Wakeling, 22 (King Country)

Aaron has spent the past three years working at Ravensdown’s store in Taumarunui. However, he decided to apply for the programme to upskill and progress his career as an agri manager.

“During my time working at the Taumarunui store, I was lucky enough to meet and talk to various people in the company that helped give me an insight to what life would be like as an agri manager. It made me realise that this is something I would enjoy doing, so I went ahead and applied for the programme.

“I enjoy dealing with farmers and I think rural people are awesome to work alongside. I think there’s a lot of interesting change coming to the farming sector, so I’m excited to be a part of it and to see where the programme takes me within Ravensdown.”

Ryan West, 22 (Northland)

Ryan completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) at Lincoln University in 2017 and has since been working on a farm in Western Australia. Now back in New Zealand, he hopes the development programme will help establish his career as a rural professional.

“New Zealand farmers are going through a time of change, and I think for them to be successful going forward, there is the opportunity to embrace emerging technology and resources that are becoming available.

“I want to be a part of this change by helping farmers make the best decisions to be both environmentally and economically sustainable. It’s great to be a part of a programme that will help me achieve this.”

James Martin, 23 (Southland)

After completing a Bachelor of Science at Lincoln University in 2018, James relocated to Southland to work on farms throughout the district. Wanting to take his career in a different direction, James applied for the development programme.

“There’s lots of change happening in the sector in terms of sustainability, and I want to help farmers make the best of what’s coming in the future.

“University was great at providing me the theory behind the agricultural industry, but it’s the practical side of getting out onto farms and having conversations with farmers that’s going to make proper change, which is exactly what the development programme is allowing me to do.”

Applications for the 2020 development programme’s first intake closed at the end of June. Successful applicants will begin the programme on 12th February 2020, with applications for the year’s second intake expected to open in May.

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