The Cultivate Your Career event designed to showcase the industry to 150 students from 10 Western BOP schools under the theme of 'multi-faceted innovation' has kicked off.

Students from Tauranga, Te Puke, Waihi and Rotorua were taken on a bus tour around Tauranga to visit Robotics Plus, Tuhono Whenua Horticulture and The Port of Tauranga. In addition, students received a presentation from Zespri and participated in an activity with Kiwi Leaders.

The tour debunks preconceived ideas of the industry by showing that horticulture offers high-level careers in a range of scientific, technical and commercial areas.

"The Bay of Plenty region is home to a multitude of world-class innovative businesses and as an industry we want to showcase this and the career opportunities available to our young people on their back doorstep," says Katy McGinity, chairwoman of Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower Upskilling Inc.

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Each bus has two industry ambassadors on board who will talk about their own careers in horticulture and answer any questions students may have. Students spend over an hour at each business undertaking practical activities relating to process, product and marketing innovation as well as the specific careers available in these fields.

Horticulture is New Zealand's fourth largest primary industry with an export revenue increasing steadily each year to a projected $5.4 billion in 2018.

Kiwifruit is a strong example of the industry's growth with a current indirect impact of $1.8 billion in the Bay of Plenty.

Kiwifruit production is forecast to double by 2030. To achieve this growth the industry requires skilled talent who can help drive horticulture's success further.

The kiwifruit industry in the Bay of Plenty currently employs 10,762 people which is expected to increase to 25,091 by 2030.

The Cultivate Your Career event will continue on Tuesday, April 10 when students from the Eastern Bay of Plenty will have the opportunity to tour local businesses in the Opotiki area.