It is estimated the industry will need another 2,000 permanent employees and 4,000 seasonal employees within the next few years. This future growth is dependent on the ability to attract and retain young people who are highly skilled and enthusiastic and develop them to become our industry’s future leaders.

Cultivate Your Career


Cultivate Your Career is an annual event coordinated by NZKGI as part of its mission to attract, develop and inspire young people within the Bay of Plenty’s horticulture industry.  The event  introduces industry professionals to secondary school students, exposing them to the skills they need to transition from school into horticulture employment.

Students from years 11, 12 and 13 are brought together from different schools to participate in a series of modules presented by industry representatives on subjects ranging on anything from biosecurity, to corporate social responsibility or technology. Students are then tasked with completing an activity relating to the module.

For the first time in 2018, Cultivate Your Career was held on two separate dates and in two different locations with the Bay of Plenty region. The dates and locations were; 27 March in Tauranga for schools in the Western Bay of Plenty and 10 April in Opotiki for schools in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The theme for 2018’s event was “Multi-Faceted Innovation within the Bay of Plenty horticulture industry” with a focus on marketing innovation, process innovation and product innovation.

The Tauranga event was attended by 125 students from 10 Western Bay of Plenty Schools. Students were taken on a bus tour to visit Robotics Plus, Tūhono Whenua Horticulture and The Port of Tauranga to be given an insight into the robotics, logistics and business sectors of the horticulture industry. In addition, students also received a presentation from Zespri and participated in a skill development activity with Kiwi Leaders.

The second “Cultivate Your Career” event was attended by 122 students from 8 Eastern Bay of Plenty schools, who received presentations from Opotiki Packing and Coolstorage Limited, New Zealand Manuka Group, and Zespri with Pacific Coast Technical Institute, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and Kiwi Leaders facilitating workshops throughout the day.

During the day, students spent over an hour at each business undertaking practical activities relating to process, product and marketing innovation as well as learning about the specific careers available in these fields.

“I found the activities that we did very useful as it helped us understand how to figure out our personal traits; how we are able to use our strengths and where our skills might sit within in a horticultural business.”

“I enjoyed learning about Zespri through playing games and learning about the robotic picking machine was quite cool too. The port tour was also interesting, seeing how much the industry is expanding and hearing about the planned changes there.”

– Aquinas College students

For more information on Cultivate Your Career, visit the BOP Young Fruit Grower website. 

If you would like to take part in the 2019 event you can email Renee Fritchley or contact
NZKGI on 07 5747139.