New partnership allows horticulture students to earn while they learn

30 September 2021 | News

A new partnership offering students a hands-on learning experience and pathway into employment in the horticulture industry has been announced by Lincoln University and T&G Global today.

The two-year programme involves students earning a fulltime wage while gaining valuable, practical work experience as they study towards Lincoln University's Diploma in Horticulture

It is aimed at Hawke's Bay high school leavers who are motivated to further their studies locally. There may also be the opportunity for students in Northland and Nelson to participate in the programme, depending on interest.

Students will receive a combination of online and face-to-face learning, remotely with Lincoln University and in person with T&G trained coaches. T&G will also provide paid study days to help students with the academic components of the diploma.

The first cohort of the programme has 30 places starting in January 2022. Potential participants are encouraged to register their interest early

Dean of the Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce at Lincoln University, Professor Hugh Bigsby, said the collaboration with T&G is a new innovation in education, immersing university education within a leading New Zealand business.

"As the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest agricultural university, Lincoln University has provided education for the food and fibre sector since 1878. This includes a long history of taking educational opportunities to where students live and combining practical work experience with academic courses.

"Given horticulture is a key part of the Hawke’s Bay economy, gaining experience first-hand in this environment will provide students with valuable skills and experience to accompany their academic qualifications.

"This unique partnership with T&G will enable students to be immersed in work and education at the same time, earning while they learn and taking their learnings straight into the workplace."

Craig Betty, T&G Global Director of Operations, described the partnership as the first of its kind in New Zealand and said it demonstrated T&G’s willingness to think creatively to recruit and develop new talent for the horticulture sector.  

"We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Lincoln University to enable students to earn while they learn - making obtaining a qualification, practical experience and a long-term career pathway more attainable and appealing within our industry.

"As T&G continues to expand its apples business to meet global demand, it’s crucial the business has skilled and passionate team members to be the future leaders of our industry.

"Our apples business is entering a significant growth period as we grow our premium Envy™ and JAZZ™ apple brands to meet worldwide demand. To do this, we’re re-developing our orchards and investing across our supply chain.

"It’s an exciting time within our business and our new partnership with Lincoln University provides a special opportunity for students to be a part of that, building their skills and capabilities within our world-class operations."

Craig Betty said the programme would bring new, up and coming talent to the workforce and help provide support during the business’ expansion and peak seasons.

"We’ve integrated the academic course work to align with our peak seasons, helping us have more hands-on deck as we work up to the busy harvesting period.

"At the peak of the season, students will work five days per week and for the remainder of the year, students will work four days and be offered one paid study day per week to support them to complete their academic course work."

Under the current government’s fees free vocational educational initiative, the Diploma in Horticulture is offered at no cost to participants. Eligibility for the programme is subject to meeting Lincoln University’s academic criteria.