Anyone in the Te Puke area who is fit to work and wants a job can probably have one tomorrow, says Seeka chief executive Michael Franks.
Traditionally, the Bay of Plenty’s horticultural industries have had limited resources to enhance the perception of the sector as a career option. This has now changed through additional funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), allowing more exposure of the wide range of businesses and opportunities available to those who have a potential career in the horticulture industries.
The Education Coordinator roles are a partnership between the Provincial Growth Fund and Horticulture New Zealand with $1.1 million being invested by the PGF in six horticulture career coordinators across New Zealand to increase people capability and fill jobs within the industries.
Di Holloway is the new co-ordinator in the BOP. Before coming into the role, she was a teacher at Te Puke High School and before that a kiwifruit grower.
Horticultural industries such as kiwifruit are expanding rapidly. Sales of kiwifruit generated $2.6 billion in 2019 and are expected to grow to $4 billion in 2027. In order to meet demand for this growth, Holloway says she will expand on the industry’s current activities such as Cultivate your Career, Future Leaders and BOP Young Fruit Grower competition.
“One important part of my role is to identify potential students and link them into horticulture. There are a range of ways to do this, from connecting with employers and educational and training institutions in areas such as the Eastern Bay or the Innovative Horticulture Project at Katikati College. Another way is to connect with career advisors and students and make them aware of the career opportunities that the horticulture industries offer,” she says.
Holloway says that her work is not restricted to students. She says there are lots of people wanting a change in career or have got a taste of the industry as a seasonal worker.
“It’s great to show the very wide range of opportunities available in the horticulture industries which caters to people’s different interests.”