MP backs careers in hort
Pukekohe people will increasingly live and work locally, Hunua Member of Parliament Andrew Bayly believes.
And that’s behind his efforts to get more young people, especially, interested in the work opportunities the area provides.
“Live locally, work locally is my mantra,” he says.
The population of the area between Bombay, Patumahoe and Buckland is set to grow from 28,000 to over 36,000 in the next four to five years.
“A lot of money has been put into infrastructure so increasingly people will want to live here and work locally too,” he says.
And he’s pinpointed some industries where he sees opportunities for employment growth such as horticulture, the equine industry, motorsport and construction.
“Growers are incredibly skilled,” he says.
Floods earlier in the year had showed how environmental practices put in place on their properties had worked; a good sign for the future.
Bayly says that often young people wanted to enter professions and become lawyers or accountants.
“But horticulture is so sophisticated.”
“There’s water management, intellectual property, seeding techniques, logistics, packaging and computerisation. There’s a diversity of skills and we need to make young people aware of those opportunities.” He says he’s made good progress with glasshouse tomato growers, some of whom have a 30-40% annual turnover of staff.
“That’s massive,” he says.
“I’ve asked them what they want and they tell me the attributes they need are people with experience working in a hot environment, who understand plants and health and safety information and have a forklift licence.”
He’s referred that back to training organisations and has been working closely with local company Franklin AgriTech. As well as that, he’s had discussions with the Manukau Institute of Technology, asking why it doesn’t have a campus in the Franklin area.
A successful careers evening was held in Pukekohe which students attended with their parents, where local employers were able to showcase what they could offer.
“Horticulture is a huge employer so there are huge opportunities,” he says.
And he’s keen to play his part in facilitating more interaction between growers and schools wherever possible.
“The Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) has a lot of goodwill towards putting that in place,” he adds.
It is a case of informing students enough so that they know the sort of questions to ask.
“Then they’ll come out of school saying they want to be an agronomist, for example.”