Two from two for Jor­dan James

The Orchardist - - Young Grower Of The Year - By Rose Man­ner­ing

This year in­ter­est was so high in the event, a pre-se­lec­tion was held to re­duce the num­ber of en­trants from 13 to eight. The eight con­tes­tants vie for the ti­tle by un­der­tak­ing a se­ries of chal­lenges that puts their en­tire skillset to the test.

The com­pe­ti­tion is run over two days. The first day con­tes­tants demon­strate prac­ti­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal skills at spon­sored sta­tions dur­ing the Na­tional Hor­ti­cul­tural Field Day on June 29. Each com­peti­tor must com­plete all sta­tions, and the crowd­pleas­ing Hor­tisports chal­lenge at the Field Day. Sta­tions were based on the day-to­day ac­tiv­i­ties and knowl­edge of peo­ple work­ing at the post ap­pren­tice­ship level and ranged from trou­bleshoot­ing ir­ri­ga­tion and trac­tor op­er­a­tion, to fruit de­fect anal­y­sis and health and safety skills.

Com­peti­tors then demon­strate their knowl­edge base by com­pet­ing in a quiz, be­fore go­ing on to present a three­minute speech on a top­i­cal in­dus­try sub­ject, at a gala din­ner the fol­low­ing evening at the Napier Con­fer­ence Cen­tre.

The win­ner of the Hawke’s Bay ti­tle goes on to rep­re­sent Hawke’s Bay at the na­tional Young Grower Com­pe­ti­tion in Christchurch on Au­gust 17.

Jor­dan is mo­ti­vated to re­turn to the na­tional arena and im­prove his per­for­mance at this level from last year. “It’s good for me and it’s good for Mr Ap­ple,” he be­lieves. Af­ter his win last year, he gained pro­mo­tion in the com­pany, and he be­lieves the com­pe­ti­tion will open new doors for him. He has worked for six years in hor­ti­cul­ture, and holds a level 3 Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate in Hor­ti­cul­ture.

Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the na­tional event, Jor­dan joined win­ners from other sec­tors at a me­dia train­ing ses­sion in Auck­land in July to help with the pub­lic speak­ing sec­tion. “This is the best part of the whole com­pe­ti­tion.”

He has en­joyed learn­ing about the other con­tes­tants at a na­tional level, who come from a range of di­verse ar­eas such as car­rot grow­ing, and ki­wifruit pro­duc­tion. He says it was an­other great ex­pe­ri­ence, topped off by the prize pack­age worth about $5,000 that he se­cured for his ef­forts.

At just 25 Jor­dan can still com­pete for sev­eral more years, but given how pop­u­lar the event has be­come in Hawke’s Bay, he is think­ing of sit­ting the next few years out to give other would-be com­peti­tors a go.

Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Les­ley Wil­son says she was thrilled with the 13th Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit­grower Com­pe­ti­tion. “And what a close com­pe­ti­tion it was; the top four were sep­a­rated

Mr Ap­ple fore­man Jor­dan James is rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand his hori­zons af­ter win­ning the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit­grower Com­pe­ti­tion for the sec­ond year run­ning.

by only 0.8 points. The high level of ed­u­ca­tion of this year’s con­tes­tants was due to the avail­abil­ity of (of­ten free) ap­pren­tice­ships and con­tin­ued ed­u­ca­tion for young peo­ple en­ter­ing the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

“It is very ex­cit­ing to see plenty of scope for young peo­ple com­ing into the in­dus­try in terms of ed­u­ca­tion and in­no­va­tion,” she says.

It was a triple win for Mr Ap­ple, whose em­ploy­ees took out the top three places – An­thony Taueki, an or­chard man­ager at Mr Ap­ple, was run­ner-up, while Tom Dalziel, a fore­man at Mr Ap­ple, placed third. Tom, who won the speech sec­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion, was last year crowned Nel­son Young Fruit­grower of the Year. The Ri­waka or­chard worker moved to Hawke’s Bay ear­lier in the year to work as a fore­man at Mr Ap­ple.

Bo­s­tock NZ this year took over run­ning the pop­u­lar “Hor­tisports” lunch time com­pe­ti­tion for the con­tes­tants. Young Fruit­grower con­tes­tants vied for this chal­lenge which saw them chip a hat out from an ice block then wear it while they har­vested and sorted wa­ter filled bal­loons. The aim was to pick and pack as many as pos­si­ble with­out break­ing them; An­thony took out this chal­lenge.

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