Apr 2023

Schools play a huge role connecting students to primary industry

Schools play a huge role connecting students to primary industry
Mount Albert Grammar (MAGS) invited growers, farmers, and industry partners to talk about employment pathways and opportunities for secondary school students.

Recently I was invited to speak, along with four other horticulture and agriculture industry figures, to year eleven students at Mount Albert Grammar (MAGS). Jaspreet Bhatia, Secretary from the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association in conjunction with Coadette Low, Head of Department of Agriculture at MAGS organised this event to showcase career opportunities within the industry.

Invited to talk were:

  • Jaspreet Bhatia, PVGA
  • Peter Butler, Agribusiness manager from the BNZ in Pukekohe
  • Arjune Dahya Regional Extension Officer from Horticulture New Zealand
  • Tim Dangen, Beef Farmer & the 2022 Young Farmer of the Year winner.

Ian Stuart from Ministry of Primary Industries also attended with Tim Dangen to discuss opportunities within MPI.

What MAGS is offering students:

MAGS is fortunate to have an 8.1ha model farm to complement the Agricultural and Horticultural Science teaching programme that over 200 students elect to take annually. The farm continues to provide an experiential learning experience for students. The farm exposes students to rearing calves, terminal lamb production, layer chickens, dairy sheep, raised garden beds, native seedlings, mini orchard, plus gold kiwifruit (educational license).

Agricultural and Horticultural Science is unique in that both industry and career pathways are heavily linked with what is being taught in class. I am personally extremely excited to grow what MAGS can offer through engaging and inspiring the future urban students into the primary industries. (Coadette Low)


In brief:

All presenters had a broad range of interesting topics, Jaspreet Bhatia’s presentation focused on diversity in horticulture, and the pathways & opportunities that are available. Arjune Dahya also discussed the employment opportunities as well as covering environmental challenges. I discussed the vast amounts of opportunities that greenhouse’s offer in terms of technology, including robotics and environmental solutions how greenhouses produce more with less.

Peter Butler’s excellent presentation talked about his career journey, and the different number of industries he had worked in that led him to his Argribusiness role at the BNZ. It was a great reminder that you will not necessarily be tied to your first career choice but how it could lead to future career opportunities.

Tim Dangen talked about his large beef farm in West Auckland. In 2022 Tim won the Young Grower of the Year competition and talked about his experience of the event. Tim had amazing facts about the agriculture industry, the opportunities and potential income that could be earned in the sector.

What was interesting from my point was how the students were very keen to understand how much they could earn from the distinct roles from either the Horticulture or Agriculture industry. The focus on remuneration is particularly important as these students understand the value of money, and the increases in the cost of living.

For students there are varied roles in the food and fibre industry, further tertiary studies will open the doors to wonderful jobs, but if like me university is not for you, there are still a huge amount of domestic or international career opportunities available.

An acknowledgment and thank you to Coadette Low from MAGS. The programme Coadette heads up is vitally important, not only for teaching the fundamentals about Horticulture and Agriculture but being a critical link in the chain, connecting students to industry bodies that may lead to employment when their schooling finishes.

I believe that engagement and collaboration between industry and Secondary School educators is an excellent opportunity to promote our wonderful industry.

Thank you to the Horticentre Trust for making it possible for me to attend this event.


To learn more about opportunities in Horticulture contact:

Arjune Dahya

Regional Extension Officer Horticulture New Zealand

E: arjune.dahya@hortnz.co.nz


Jaspreet Bhatia

Careers Progression Manager Pukekohe Go Horticulture New Zealand

Secretary Pukekohe Vegetable Grower Association 

E:   Jaspreet.Bhatia@hortnz.co.nz

E:   Secretary@pvga.org.nz


Article written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic

All Article’s checked and edited by Marie Vogrincic.  For all media releases please send to marie@grower2grower.co.nz or upload directly: https://www.grower2grower.co.nz/article-form/

I appreciate your comments.  Please feel free to comment on the grower2grower Facebook page or email: stefan@grower2grower.co.nz





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