Zespri has launched a new scholarship for up to five students each year studying Massey University's Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree.

Dr Kylie Phillips, Zespri's innovation team leader — supply chain, explains the Zespri Science Scholarships are aimed at students considering a career in the fast-growing kiwifruit industry.

The scholarships are each worth up to $15,000 over three years and include mentoring opportunities and exposure to and support from the wider industry.

"Zespri is on track to nearly double global sales from 2010 levels to $4.5 billion by 2025 and we can only do this by attracting the right people with the right skills," Dr Phillips says.

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"Zespri's extensive research and development programme is building scientific understanding of how best to grow and deliver premium quality kiwifruit to consumers all over the world. Technology and science are changing our industry and the horticulturalists of tomorrow will need different skillsets from the growers and postharvest operators of today.

"With the industry growing strongly in New Zealand and around the world, we want to attract talented young people with the skills to support our value chain supply premium Zespri Kiwifruit that our consumers demand. This is a really exciting time to be starting a career in the kiwifruit industry," says Dr Phillips.

Head of Massey's School of Agriculture and Environment Professor Peter Kemp says this investment will be a great opportunity for students and the kiwifruit industry.

"As one of the world's leading horticultural companies, Zespri's investment shows additional support for the degree and the students that it will produce. The Bachelor of Horticultural Science welcomed its first cohort this year, aiming to fulfil a real need in a booming industry.

"It was created with close engagement from industry leaders, including Zespri. By working closely with industry, we will continue to produce students with the broad knowledge they will need to excel within this exciting industry and prepare them for future jobs," says Professor Kemp.

Applicants should show how they are helping, or are planning to help, develop the New Zealand horticultural industry, with a particular emphasis on kiwifruit. They should show their own personal passion and commitment to kiwifruit and horticulture as a career.

This scholarship is part of Zespri's broader programme of education and personal development from science in junior schools, to scholarships for tertiary study, and career development for future and current leaders of the kiwifruit industry. Applications close at the end of January 2020. For more information, visit the Massey University website.