At Southern Cross Horticulture (SCH) we are passionate about developing the future capability of the kiwifruit industry and showcasing the range of exciting careers within the sector to high school students and rangatahi. We recently had Year 13 students from Bethlehem College visit to see harvest operations in full swing. Megan Fox (Orchard Technical Advisor) and Alex Tomkins (Graduate), both alumni from Massey University and former students at Bethlehem College, hosted the visiting students. They explained all the logistics and operations involved in coordinating a harvest site, the importance of quality control while harvesting, the global supply chain of Zespri kiwifruit, the science behind growing kiwifruit, the scale and sophistication of the wider industry, and scope of career opportunities within the horticulture and kiwifruit sector. The students also each picked a bag of kiwifruit to relate with the physicality of the job.
Alex Tomkins said “It was an awesome opportunity to have Year 13 students from Bethlehem College visit, of which I was in their position four years ago and be able to potentially influence their career pathway decision making. I was able to share with them my experience of studying AgriCommerce and Horticulture at University and some of my learnings so far from being on SCH’s Graduate Programme. Field trips and industry exposure while at high school was pivotal in my decision to pursue tertiary study in horticulture and pursue a career in the kiwifruit industry. It is great be part of the SCH team who believe in enhancing lives and building future people capability in the sector”.
Megan Fox said “it is fantastic to be a part of a company that values the future generation and the importance of vocational education. I look forward to the up-coming season where the students will carry out a case study that encompasses them making key orchard management decisions in our peak times to understand the influence the decisions have on crop load and Orchard Gate Return (OGR)”.
Special thanks to Helen McKoy, Teacher in Charge (TIC) of Biology and Agriculture/Horticulture at Bethlehem College, for bringing her students out for a few hours to experience harvest.