Four Hawke's Bay students have spent part of the school holidays honing their leadership skills at a unique course.
The quartet was part of a group of 14 teenagers from the lower North Island selected to attend the three-day programme in Napier from July 8-10.
The course called Raising the Standards was organised by NZ Young Farmers and funded by DairyNZ and is designed to enhance the skills of emerging leaders within school-based TeenAg clubs run by NZ Young Farmers.
Woodford House student Izy Greville said that the course was a great way to build a path in the agricultural industry.
"I found it really beneficial, especially the sessions on networking and building an impressive curriculum vitae (CV)," Greville said.
"Those are skills which are extremely relevant as most of us try to line-up part-time jobs in the school holidays."
Students learned about cadetships, overcoming pressure, dealing with conflict, interview techniques and budgeting.
"Many didn't realise there are jobs in the banking sector which involve working solely with agribusiness clients," said Mary Blain from NZ Young Farmers.
Students heard from numerous guest speakers, including a banker, vet, viticulturist, a technical field representative and the sustainability manager for a large dairy farming business.
The group visited Bostock NZ's organic apple orchard and the Mr Apple packhouse.
"Going inside the apple packhouse where the fruit was graded and sorted was an eye-opening experience," Greville said.
"It was a huge, highly-automated operation involving lots of technology and science.
"The packhouse was fascinating and not what I was expecting. Each apple is photographed by high-tech machinery to check for bruising."
She was one of four Hawke's Bay students on the course along with Kaylee Hutchinson, Annabel Bowen and Emma Dunderdale.
The Mr Apple packhouse is fitted with multi-million dollar sorting equipment and an automatic defect grader.
The technology takes 240 photos of every apple in a split second to assess its external and internal quality.
It means the machine snaps approximately 640,000 photos of apples per minute, stopping defect fruit from being exported.
"The field trip opened my mind to the wide variety of jobs in the horticulture sector which I was previously unaware of," Dunderdale said.
The 16-year-old lives on a sheep farm in Ongaonga and is the chair of the TeenAg club at Central Hawke's Bay College and is considering studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science or a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at Massey University.
"I like animals and science. I think studying agricultural science will keep my options open to a larger number of job opportunities once I've graduated," said Emma.
The students were from Woodford House, Central Hawke's Bay College, Iona College, Wairarapa College, Rathkeale College, Palmerston North Girls' High School, Palmerston North Boys' High School and Feilding High School.
The guest speakers were from PGG Wrightson, BNZ, Waterforce, BEL Group, Vet Services Hawke's Bay, Delegats - Crownthorpe Vineyard, CP Wool and Miraka.