MP backs ca­reers in hort

Pukekohe peo­ple will in­creas­ingly live and work lo­cally, Hunua Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment An­drew Bayly be­lieves.

NZ Grower - - Election 2017 - By Glenys Chris­tian

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.”

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