Pipfruit New Zealand’s newest directors Cameron Taylor and Bruce Beaton, along with the recently re-elected Peter Beaven, have spoken out about the industry’s need to attract new talent.
The New Zealand sector is tracking ahead of its forecast to become a NZ$1bn export business by 2020, with production volumes tipped to increase by 30 per cent over the next five years. However, the trio said the industry cannot reach its record breaking potential unless it attracts hundreds more people.
By Pipfruit New Zealand’s calculations, the industry will require 4,000 permanent and seasonal staff over the coming years to harvest, market, and export the crop to more than 70 countries.
“We can’t get there on our own,” Beaton said. “To achieve our record breaking potential we must help attract and develop a skilled labour force and grow capability and skills both within the current, and future workforce.”
Pipfruit New Zealand is undertaking a major work project, which includes the development of an interactive tool that will identify and track available new jobs. This will include information on when the jobs are commencing and their value, along with the qualifications, skills and experience required to match them.
Taylor said it was critical to engage and find new ways to encourage young talent to start thinking about the wide range of jobs on offer, in order to climb the career ladder.
“Enter our industry and you can go places – that’s the message we want to send out to encourage, inspire and see more people succeed,” Taylor said.
Beaven said four back-to-back years of making money had allowed growers to reduce debt and reinvest in their companies, which has resulted in annual plantings of over a million new trees.
Beaton highlighted that a number of the industry’s leading players had matured into fully integrated business structures, promoting increased collaboration and better communication across the sector, whilst preserving a sense of fierce competition.
“While the industry has gone through significant turmoil and change to achieve this, we are now far stronger and as a country we are in better shape than any of our competitors,” Beaton said.