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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

16 mins ago

Jackie Lynch, the Programme Coordinator for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Horticulture and Apiculture Programmes at EIT, and Paul Keats, the Assistant Head of School, Primary Industries, at EIT’s stand at the National Horticulture Field Days at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay.

This year’s National Horticulture Field Days has highlighted the pivotal programmes EIT Hawke’s Bay offers in the primary sector.

EIT Hawke’s Bay was among key industry partners that showcased their products and services to more than 5000 people over the two-day event, held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay in Hastings.

Paul Keats, the Assistant Head of School, Primary Industries, said they are the largest provider of managed apprenticeship training for the fruit industry in Hawke’s Bay.

“There’s quite a shortage of trained staff in the industry and our graduates end up as supervisors and orchard managers once they qualify.

EIT’s Hawke’s Bay’s Campus in Taradale offers a three-year Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme where students qualify with a NZ Certificate in Horticulture Level 4.

Mr Keats says there are good career prospects for those wanting to be qualified in the industry, and their students that graduate are sought after.  

“Industry is very supportive of what we are doing.” EIT also run a New Zealand Diploma in Horticulture Production in Fruit Production and one in Post Harvest. [Level 5].

Mr Keats says the Post Harvest qualification covers everything beyond the orchard gates. “That’s another part of the industry that’s probably a bit unsung really and it is just as vital and there are a lot of career prospects.”

On Wednesday, hundreds of students from around the North Island came through the field days. In groups of 10-15, they spent time at each stall, and completed an activity.

At the EIT stands, students were tasked with identifying different types of honey in one activity and examine a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which is a pest that would devastate the horticulture industry and one we need to keep out of the country.

Jackie Lynch, the Programme Coordinator for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Horticulture and Apiculture Programmes at EIT, said it opens their eyes to what is available and what they can study.

“It shows them how big the horticulture industry is. There are a lot of roles where you do need a qualification of some kind, but they can always enter at the ground level and do training.”

Mrs Lynch says horticulture is “hugely important” for Hawke’s Bay, as the region’s economy built on the sector.

Linking in with the event is the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Growers of the Year competition, which took place on Thursday, with the winner crowned at a prize-giving on Friday evening. Five out of the eight competitors have achieved qualifications through EIT.

MIL OSI