Funds on offer to help students study for primary sector career

Massey University student Calum Linton won a $2500 scholarship with Agcarm. Here he is pictured at home at his family's ...

Massey University student Calum Linton won a $2500 scholarship with Agcarm. Here he is pictured at home at his family's sheep and beef farm in Te Puke.

Young New Zealanders interested in taking up a career in the primary sector can apply for almost 1000 scholarships worth more than $3.5 million.

GrowingNZ, whose role is to promote primary industries careers to young people, has created an online directory detailing the organisations which offer the scholarships.

GrowingNZ's Andy Somerville said the organisation was created following a Primary Industries report in 2014 which forecast New Zealand needed more than 50,000 skilled staff by 2025.

Support services is the area of most acute need: 32,000 extra workers will be required by 2025. Horticulture will need 7800 more, the arable industry 4700, dairy 2300, seafood 1100 and forestry 5300. Only the red meat and wool sector envisages a fall in workers, by 5100.

Somerville said the scholarships were on offer for a variety of students, including those pursuing an academic career but also those who might work on farms.

"There are scholarships out there you have never heard of. For example a woman who owned a Hawke's Bay farm died, leaving $40,000 for students to attend the Telford training institution," he said.

GrowingNZ is representing the primary industries at the upcoming national Career Expo series in Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington in May and June.

Primary sector roles range from water scientists and robotics engineers to food safety specialists and the farmers of the future who will work with sophisticated technologies. 

"We are looking to young people to help shape the future of these important industries, which earn about 70 per cent of New Zealand's export income each year," Somerville said.

He said people did not realise how pervasive the primary sector was.

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"We've estimated there are probably about 5000 people working in central Wellington who are in primary industries. It's a question of opening people's eyes to what is possible."


 - Stuff

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