Agriculture on the menu for Secondary School students

Friday 23 March 2012, 8:08AM

By NZ Young Farmers



There are countless opportunities for young people in the agriculture industry today - here's the proof: By the year 2050 the agriculture industry will need to produce double the amount of food that it produce now. And that's on the same amount of land or less.

Business Development Manager for New Zealand Young Farmers Roz Lever says that to meet that demand; "young people are needed to enter the industry - now more than ever."

NZYF has united with DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand to create the Get Ahead Careers Programme. Along with a website and print resources; the programme also runs ten Get Ahead Experience Days around the country from late March.

"The Experience Days aim to educate young people about the real, viable and varied career opportunities that are available to them in the agriculture industry" says Ms Lever.

"Agriculture is a very different industry to a generation ago; there are so many options now. Agriculture has moved beyond the typical on-farm roles."

"School leavers are entering into a very competitive job market so we want them to know that it's not as daunting as it seems and there are opportunities out there - especially in the agriculture industry."

The Experience Days focus on the Supply Chain story - it's all about how food gets from Pasture to Plate. To demonstrate this; students will participate in 12 practical modules that focus on everything from animal genetics to marketing and exporting, herd management to pasture manipulation.

The Days have a competitive element to them and Students will also have the opportunity to speak face to face with young professionals from the industry.

The Experience Days also serve as a great opportunity for industry to help future-proof the agriculture sector says Ms Lever.

"We need innovative young people to lead the industry so it's sustainable for future generations and the Experience Days work as a platform to get the right people interested."

The first Get Ahead Experience Day is being held on March 27th in Te Awamutu before heading onto Rotorua on the 29th and Auckland on April 3rd before taking a break until May. (A full schedule is available from

Supporting the Experience Days is the Get Ahead website where students and career advisors alike can use the site to learn more about the possibilities in agriculture by exploring career options, education providers and facts about agriculture.

A key component of the site is The Real World - a section devoted to profiling young professionals in the industry.

Scott Heasley, a livestock procurement buyer at Wilson Hellaby, has volunteered to be profiled on the site. To Scott it's important to get involved in initiatives such as Get Ahead to help the next generation of young farmers that are coming through.

"I remember it happened to me at school; some of the older guys would come in and help you out. It inspired me to succeed and I know we all want to see the younger ones coming through" says Scott.

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