Six pupils from Waiau Area School in Tuatapere spent two days last week visiting orchards and a vineyard in Central Otago, as part of a careers initiative developed by Seasonal Solutions.

Associate principal Richard Bennett said the year 10 to year 13 pupils had been interested in finding information about working in orchards and vineyards as possible career options.

''They also looked at accommodation and found out about the different jobs available in viticulture and horticulture,'' Bennett said.

''The visits have certainly been eye-opening for the students.''

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Assistant Johnathan Bates (left) and Hollandia orchard manager Murray Booth. Photos / Yvonne O'Hara
Assistant Johnathan Bates (left) and Hollandia orchard manager Murray Booth. Photos / Yvonne O'Hara

In addition to visiting Hollandia Orchard, Earnscleugh and Jacksons Orchard, Cromwell last Friday, they visited Chard Farm's vineyard and 45 South's cherry orchards the day before.

They also heard Blair Wells from Primary ITO talk about industry apprenticeships and other training options.

Hollandia orchard manager Murray Booth (left), Seasonal Solutions administration manager Damianne Wells and Waiau Area School associate principal Richard Bennett. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Hollandia orchard manager Murray Booth (left), Seasonal Solutions administration manager Damianne Wells and Waiau Area School associate principal Richard Bennett. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

Hollandia orchard manager Murray Booth and assistant John Bates showed the pupils beneficial insects, as well as discussing spray regimes and frost fighting.

Seasonal Solutions' administration manager Damianne Wells said the trip was designed to show them working in orchards was ''not just about picking fruit in the holidays''.

Waiau Area School pupils Holly Hammond (left) and Amanda Baldwin chat with Hollandia Orchard manager Murray Booth. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Waiau Area School pupils Holly Hammond (left) and Amanda Baldwin chat with Hollandia Orchard manager Murray Booth. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

She said the industry desperately needed more workers, from tractor drivers and vineyard managers to scientists, IT people and administration people.

''The list is endless and the need is going to grow in this district,'' Wells said.

''It [the visit] is an opportunity to show people what is available in those industries.''

The idea for the showcase tour was first suggested when Laura Sutherland, of Seasonal Solutions attended Careerfest Expo in Invercargill, to promote career options in horticulture in July.

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''I met Richard and we talked about it and we got some good feedback.''

Pupil Angela Pierce said it had been an interesting trip.

- Southern Rural Life