National Fieldays pushes glamour, high rewards for agribusiness careers

Richie McCaw is among high achievers wanting to remove stigma from working on the farm. With special feature audio.

Legendary All Black Richie McCaw, world champion shearer Sir David Fagan, and Olympic rowing couple Rob and Sonia Waddell are high-profile personalities pushing careers in agriculture.

They are part of a new video series promoting primary industry champions to secondary students who do not see glamour or high rewards in studying agriculture.

The pitch highlights the management and scientific skills needed in agribusiness as well as the strong demand to fill a skills shortage.

Prime Minister John Key, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Finance Minister Bill English helped launch the programme at National Fieldays.

The primary sector needs to recruit some 50,000 young people if high-tech agriculture is to reach its 2025 goals of doubling exports and boosting its contribution to the economy.

Half of this new workforce will need qualifications of at least level four in NCEA to enter university study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To view the first videos in the Growing Our Future – Primary Industry Champions series click here.

 

 

Bootcamp scholarships awarded
Mr Key also announced the winners of two scholarships for the 2016 Te Hono Movement Stanford Bootcamp in Palo Alto, California.

Bruce Hunter and Daniel Boulton will attend the bootcamp, which is an international course for future Maori agriculture leaders. The Te Hono movement comprises an alumni of more than 130 chief executives and leaders, representing 80% of the New Zealand primary sector.

In a separate move, the co-ed Mount Albert Grammar School (known as MAGS) will in 2018 open a new $8 million ASB Farm Centre to encourage students to enter agriculture.

The school has an 8ha working farm and the centre will be a working facility for dairying, horticulture, viticulture and engineering as well as classroom space. At full capacity, it will cater for 500 fulltime students and up to 30,000 visiting ones a year.

Details of sketch drawings were unveiled at the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda breakfast at Fieldays and a resource consent to start work on the Jasmax-designed building is expected in six weeks.

Some 120,000 are expected to attend this year's 48th National Fieldays, which run until the weekend at the 114ha site at Mystery Creek. Among the more than 1000 exhibitors is a contingent of farm machinery and other rural industry suppliers from Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is making its 10th successive appearance. 

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