Fieldays – Hort as a Career
Fieldays seem a little quieter this year. Indicators are that there are many horticulturists attending, but not so many dairy farmers. This is because horticulture is on a growth cycle at present and is doing well across all key exports: kiwifruit, apples, avocado, cherries, onions, and potatoes are all going strong. Add to this our increasing domestic sales across hort products, and we’ve got a winning combination.
To keep this growth cycle continuing its upward trend we need more young people entering into all of the primary sector – but particularly horticulture.
Ministers Stephen Joyce and Nathan Guy launched the Career and Education Hub at Fieldays on Wednesday, designed to attract school leavers into the primary industries. The Ministers stressed the need for up to 50,000 people to take up careers in the primary sector over the next 10 years. They also pointed to the vast range of skills and careers that the primary sector offers. This was repeated inside the hub, where interactive sessions are available with some of the young primary sector leaders talking about the career opportunities.
Hort makes up about half that number; we need 25,000 new workers over the next decade.
Horticulture is a tough field. It’s labour and skill intensive, and without access to both permanent and seasonal labour the growth we want just isn’t possible. Every horticultural job requires care and skill if the piece of fruit or vegetable is going to be the best possible quality and is going to give the best eating experience, which translates into profit, (especially in the lucrative exports market), which translates into pay rates that reward skill.
So get along to the Careers and Education Hub at Fieldays to see what exciting careers there are in horticulture.
- Mike Chapman, CEO