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School leavers inspired to consider food and fibre career

5 July 2021

More than 150 high school leavers now have a better understanding of careers in New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors, thanks to the Feed Your Future campaign.

"We’re really stoked with how the Feed Your Future series has gone. We had seven events from Whangarei to Invercargill throughout May and June, where we took high school students to visit successful and innovative primary sector businesses," says GoHort Manager, Emma Boase, who supports the national network of Career Progression Managers working to attract people into the horticulture industry.

Feed Your Future is a collaborative career promotion series between GoHort, DairyNZ, Lincoln University and Massey University that encourages high school students to pursue careers in the food and fibre sectors.

"We had more than 40 young professionals at the events sharing how they got to where they are in the industry," says Emma.

"Having role models to look up to and being able to see the different pathways to where you can be in five years, is hugely important to school leavers. For those who don’t have a background in primary industries, these events have been really eye-opening to the opportunities available.

"We made sure to include students who hadn’t had experience or exposure to the primary industries, but were open to a career in the sector. We introduced them to people who had ‘been there and done that’, and could give them a taste of what it would be like working or studying in the primary industries."

Lincoln University Domestic Engagement Manager, Jaime Shone says it was fantastic to interact with the students and have the chance to educate them on the broad range of career possibilities available in the food and fibre sectors.

"There’s an increasing demand for university-educated professionals in these areas and many new employment opportunities are expected to open up in the years to come.

"At Lincoln, our programmes are designed with input from employers, so students develop the industry-specific knowledge and hands-on experience they need to move into great careers as soon as they graduate.

"We hope to see many of the Feed Your Future participants studying at Lincoln in the near future."

Adam Shears, a Year 13 student at Mount Hutt College, found the event gave him insights into opportunities in the industry he otherwise would not have had.

"It was a very cool event. I loved being able to speak with people who are in the sector and get a perspective of their lives through university and all the opportunities they took to become who and where they are today," said Adam.

Sarah de Bruin, a Horticultural Consultant at AgFirst who spoke at the Nelson event, wished that this type of event was available when she was at school.

"If this sort of thing had been offered to me at high school, I would have been all over it," said Sarah.

"My personal highlight was the young professional panel. It was very interesting listening to stories and advice from such a diverse set of experiences.

"Overall, the students reacted well to the presentations. I think it opened their minds more to the many roles involved in primary industry supply chains and the different pathways everyone took to get where they are. A few of the students actually changed their minds about what they thought their pathway was, after hearing the different stories."

Media release