Earlier in May, NZ Plant Producers attended the Rotorua Careers Expo to promote our industry and engage future young plant producers. Armed with the slogan ‘Grow the Plants that Grow New Zealand’, we joined 90 other stall holders and over 4000 attendees making connections with not only students and career changers, but other organisations. We were joined at the expo by forestry industry representatives, the Kiwifruit Industry Association, apiculture, Lincoln University, Scion, and many more primary industry representatives.
The NZPPI stall had a biosecurity plant protection competition where students had to identify the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Kauri Die Back, and Giant White Butterfly. A ‘What is your favourite house plant?’ tally (which was easily taken by Rhaphidophora tetrasperma), and a ‘Name the native plant’ challenge also drew students in. Palmers Rotorua and Treeline Native Nursery kindly allowed us to display some of their plants at our stall to show off our industry’s products to the attendees.
The career expo was very useful to understand how many students and career changers know about the plant production industry, the education and training options available and the career pathways available to them. From attending this event it has very much confirmed the need for identified pathways into the industry, consistent training in the industry, and input from industry into the education system.
We thank the EMA and the organisers of the Rotorua Career Expo for allowing us to have a stall at the expo to introduce our industry to individuals that are now curious about study options, job opportunities and a future working with plants.