Call for Young New Zealanders to join booming apple industry

New Zealand’s world leading apple industry is putting a call out to school leavers and graduates across the country to come share in its success.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s new capability development manager Erin Simpson has been charged with growing and retaining young people into Zealand’s apple and pear industry.

“New Zealand apples are leading the world, the industry is dynamic, innovative, and going places and so can young New Zealanders,” said Mr Simpson

Over the next four seasons at least another 500 fulltime jobs will be needed as the record $700 million earning New Zealand apple crop continues to grow.

“It’s an exciting time for our apple industry, but it’s also one of the most challenging because we need to inspire people, especially our younger generation, to want to join us,” said Mr Simpson.

“When it comes to school leavers and graduates we are not yet seen as a great career choice. Nothing was more evident than at the last career expo where we hosted a stand – the reality was parents and their children were not that interested in talking with us about future options in our industry.

“As an industry we need to change this perception to one where young people can see how they can branch out in so many different ways within our apple industry.

“It’s not just about picking bags and ladders anymore, we are creating fantastic careers right across our fully integrated industry.”

Key to attracting school leavers to the industry was re-connecting with schools, said Mr Simpson.

“We need to work on building far stronger relationships with teachers so they are aware of all the different career pathways for their students and to ensure that schools have access to modern resources and contacts to enable students to learn more about what our Industry is about today and how they can harvest their futures.”

Two rising stars harvesting their futures in the apple industry are joining Mr Simpson to do a shout out to young people to join the industry.

At 25, Anna Cudby, who grew up in a small country village Tikokino, has landed her dream job with Rockit Apple, the world’s first specially bred miniture apple marketed as a snack.

“Three years out of university with a degree in communications and I’m working in sales and marketing for an innovative global apple brand with international experience.

“Working in the apple industry is so amazing. The biggest highlight are the international relationships I’m developing, so far I’ve been to Europe twice and Asia three times”.

Raised in Wellington, Leander Archer, 21, said she loved eating fruit and vegetables and was good at science which led her into a career path working with food crops.

With a Bachelor in Agricultural Science majoring in horticulture Miss Archer, who had a choice of four jobs said she decided to start as a technician with AgFirst six months ago and is working in the office and field as a junior consultant.

“The amount of complexity and knowledge to grow fruit well is astounding, and I’m so excited about my prospects in this industry,” she said.