Covid-19 has certainly changed employment markets and work opportunities.
In New Zealand, what were considered traditional skills areas are making a come back.
Horticulture, agriculture, and viticulture careers have become increasingly popular for those looking to apply their skills and qualifications.
The rural industries look to be secure, particularly those related to food production.
The rural sector has long struggled to attract graduates or career changers. Often the rural industries don’t seem as attractive as others and generally the rural industries are media shy. The result has been a lack of skilled workers entering the industry and considerable vacancies developing over the years.
Fast forward to the Covid-19 crisis, and the stable rural sector with good career pathways is suddenly a great option!
What isn’t well understood by many, is the sheer variety of employment opportunities within the sector.
The industry is often considered low tech, with manual, dusty, dirty and hard work. Well, in some cases there is some honest work to be done, but it is much, much more than that. Each part of the rural sector is different and includes:
Viticulture – the growing of wine grapes
Fruit and crop production such as kiwifruit, cherries, apples, blueberries, etc.
Sheep and beef production
Vegetable production and more
Within these specific sectors, graduates and career changers are welcome! Specialists are required in HR, IT, robotics, management, irrigation technology, business skills, logistics, retail and marketing. The industry is much, much more than just picking fruit or pruning trees.
During busy periods you may be very hands on, and this is the fun part. You get to be part of a team, often outside and working with people of different cultures and nationalities – it’s dynamic, challenging and hugely rewarding.
For those considering a career change or interested in developing a technical specialty, the Central Campus is offering the New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Skills. This is a short programme (17 weeks) designed as a quick technical hit of skills to enable entry into the fruit or viticulture industry.
It begins in early August and will finish in late November with all those placed in the industry at the end (should they want to be). It is ideally suited for those wanting to get some core skills and an understanding of the industry, but more importantly it will help learners get placements into work.
In early 2021, we will offer the same programme but with a focus on the dairy industry.
This programme is hands on, with a 50% theory and 50% practical component. It has field trips and employment preparation built into the learning during the 17 weeks.
If you have skills or qualifications already, this programme might be the short add-on you need to help enter a dynamic industry, which is looking for employees.
If you are interested contact Alex at email@example.com at the Central Campus of Otago Polytechnic in Central Otago.