Lincoln University will award the prestigious Gold Medal for the Diploma in Horticultural Management as part of the University's 2012 graduation.
The Gold Medal recognises academic excellence and this year the medal will be awarded to Damian Young for his results in the Diploma in Horticultural Management. Damian's achievement is particularly notable as he is a regional diploma student based in Tauranga taking the qualification while working full-time in the kiwifruit industry.
Lincoln University delivers its Diploma programmes in several centres across New Zealand. In the Bay of Plenty, students study through Fruition Horticulture (BOP) Ltd. Spokesperson Wendy Bradley says Fruition Horticulture is “very proud to have one of our students receive the Gold Medal in Horticulture from Lincoln University. Damian Young has completed the Diploma in Horticulture and the Diploma in Horticulture Management while still working in the kiwifruit industry. It is testament to both Damian's hard work and the flexibility of the Lincoln University programme that he has been able to achieve such recognition. We know that Damian has a lot to contribute to the horticultural industry and wish him well as he continues his career”.
Each year around 50 students study either the Diploma in Horticulture, Diploma in Horticultural Management or the Diploma in Agriculture away from Lincoln University through the University's Regional Diploma Programme. The qualification structure allows for part-tiime study, keeping those already in the industry working while gaining up-to-date knowledge to apply to the workplace.
"Lincoln University's regional delivery of the programme has meant I could take the best qualifications on offer while remaining in Tauranga. It has taken me five years to complete the Diplomas part-time while working at Apata Ltd. Apata Limited provides post harvest services to New Zealand Kiwifruit and Avocado growers. In my role of Kiwifruit Grower Services Manager I have been able to continually apply the course content to my workplace - and to have real-world experiences to put context around the theoretical study. I am really pleased to have been awarded the Gold Medal in recognition of the work that I have put in." says Damian Young.
A runner-up award is also made and this year the recipient is Gina Hailwood. Gina is also a Fruition Horticulture (BOP) Ltd student on the Lincoln University programme. Gina works at Hamilton City Council as their Contract Supervisor - Amenity Parks.
Manager of the Regional Diploma Programme at Lincoln University, Lecturer in Horticultural Management David Shillito says the option to take the course part-time and away from Lincoln University has been offered for 13 years. "It has opened up the study option to many people already within the industry who want to add a formal qualification to their CV or who want to expand their knowledge base. Lincoln University has for many years led the way in Horticulture research and teaching with the Gold Medal the mark of recognition for the diploma students. This is, however, the first time that a regionally-based student has gained the medal."