HortNZ People Capability Manager, Emma Boase, presented to the Parliament Primary Production Committee ‘Inquiry into the future of the workforce needs in the primary industries of NZ’.
The National Party Horticulture spokesperson, David Bennett, asked, “What is the next stage in a horticulture career for a young women? We are getting a good attraction into tertiary education, but how do you see that progressing through, for example, the next 20-30 years? What are some of the challenges, especially around women wanting to have a family and whether the horticulture industry gives women that capability?”
Emma gave the example of Southern Cross Horticulture’s (SCH’s) Orchard Technical Advisor, Megan Fox.
“I recently went picking kiwifruit, and the harvest coordinator was a woman by the name of Megan Fox,” said Emma.
“Megan is an exceptional leader. She’s gone through the Young Grower Competition, the HortNZ Leadership Programme, Executive International Horticulture Immersion Programme (IHIP), and she’s looking at starting a family.
“She loves the responsibility that she has in her role, the pathway that’s available to her, and the leadership opportunities she’s getting. She also loves the flexibility horticulture has for her career going forward, particularly as she’s in a technical space. Her career provides a flexible work environment and the ability to come back in after she has had kids and is ready to join the workforce again.”
Emma acknowledges the pressure on women to get their careers in order over a short time frame. Women between the age of 25-35 often have to navigate the balance between a career and family. Keeping the conversation open and promoting companies and real-life women helps to break the stigma and creates support.
It is always great to see horticulture featured at a parliamentary level, showing our commitment to enhancing the lives of our team through flexibilities being highlighted. Ka pai Megan, it is great to have young leaders like you in our industry.