New program launched to introduce young Pacific people to careers in horticulture

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A new scheme launched today in Mangere aims to introduce young Pacific people to successful careers in New Zealand’s horticulture sector, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito announced today William Sio.

“The Akongoue: Pasifika Horticulture Program will introduce our Pacific youth to the wide range of career options in the horticulture sector supply chain,” said Damien O’Connor.

“In terms of exports, horticulture is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sectors, with sector exports expected to reach $6.9 billion this financial year and set to grow further.

“We have invested a lot in partnership with the sector in new technologies and in increasing sustainability. For a young person, this means exciting career opportunities.

“These range from hands-on jobs like planting and harvesting, to roles in biodiversity and sustainability, green and digital technologies, engineering, sales and marketing, research and science, and manufacturing. and logistics.”

The Akongoue: Pasifika Horticulture Program is a collaboration between the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, Tongan Youth Trust, the Sector Workforce Engagement Program (MBIE) and the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) training facility.

Aupito William Sio said the program will broaden horizons and reward young Pacific people.

“There is tremendous potential for our Pacific youth to build fulfilling careers in horticulture. This program is the first step,” said Aupito William Sio.

“It will help our young people appreciate and consider the land as a source of life, connecting them to the cultural and indigenous knowledge of previous generations.”

Learning will include both classroom time and hands-on activities one day per week in a safe and inclusive learning environment. Mentors and friends will help participants get the most out of the program.

As well as introducing Pacific youth to different roles in horticulture, the program will also contribute to NCEA Level 2/3 (up to 43 credits) and provide important skills such as first aid and health and safety.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni said students will also interact with a network of industry employers to help them continue their learning and take up employment opportunities.

“The Akongoue: Pasifika horticulture program is an opportunity to bring together Pacific youth, their Kainga (families) and schools,” said Carmel Sepuloni.

“It will also help them thrive by identifying career opportunities in horticulture that offer progression to higher education, employment, diversity, mobility and financial reward.”

Damien O’Connor said the Akongoue: Pasifika horticulture program is part of the government’s broader efforts to connect people with jobs in the food and fiber sector.

“We need workers for our booming primary industries. Our Fit for a Better World roadmap is guiding New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 by boosting productivity, sustainability and jobs over 10 years,” said Damien O’Connor.

“A key part of this is attracting future generations to our food and fiber business.

“The Akongoue: Pasifika Horticulture Program will equip our Pacific youth with important skills and qualifications. It will also help motivate and attract our Pacific youth to a career in horticulture to create prosperity for themselves and their families throughout their lives,” said Damien O’Connor. noted.

(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)

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