Three Hawke’s Bay horticulture graduates are embarking on their careers in the sector following a successful pilot programme supported by Craigmore Sustainables.

Ten young people from central Hawke’s Bay participated in the Tū Te Wana programme run by registered training provider Fruition Horticulture in conjunction with Craigmore’s Springhill orchard in Ongaonga.

The 16-week programme supports young people aged 16-19 to achieve NZQA credits and gain additional skills such as a driver licence. It included the group completing 24 days of work experience, spending two or three days a week at the Springhill apple orchard learning practical skills such as pruning, thinning and tree husbandry.

Working under the guidance of Jordan Hetterley, kaiako (programme facilitator/teacher) the rangitahi (students) successfully completed Level 2 unit standards in horticulture and graduated on 5 August.

Programme graduates Tia (15), Hallie (17) and Raiden (16) said the programme had been “life changing” for them and the support they had received and the self-esteem and confidence they gained had given them a new perspective on work.

“To have a teacher that cared about us and our future was awesome”, said Tia. “It’s opened my eyes to a future that I didn’t think I’d have when I left school.”

Ben James, Business Manager – Apples for Craigmore, said giving back to the industry, supporting the local community and providing pathways for other young people that are potentially still trying to find their way, was a key motivator for those taking part in the programme.

“These opportunities probably didn’t exist ten years ago. My goal is that if we can retain four of five in permanent employment, we will be unlocking a whole lot of potential in these young people and teaching them a lot about what they are worth and what they can offer back to society.”

Craigmore chief executive Che Charteris said he was very pleased that three of the students would now be joining the company in full-time employed roles.

“As a New Zealand owned and controlled business established to help fund development and grow regional New Zealand food and fibre businesses, we strive to reinvigorate our rural communities, providing jobs and career pathways.”

Published: 12 September 2022