While many pupils have been enjoying a summer of fun in Central Otago, Dunstan High School pupil Charlie Shaw has been getting hands-on learning in the horticulture industry.
For about six weeks, he had been ‘‘put all over the place’’ at Strode Rode Orchard, in Earnscleugh.
‘‘I’ve been picking, I’ve been packing, I’ve been picking up buckets.’’
Cleaning buckets was not his favourite job but it was one of the jobs that had to be done, he said.
His main task in the packhouse had been making sure the machines had enough fruit to keep running.
He had also been learning about what happened to fruit once it left the orchard.
‘‘Every fruit is different, so cherries, apricots, they all have to be processed differently and packaged differently, and they get sent to places all around the world.’’
During his internship he had learnt some of the effects weather can have on fruit.
‘‘The challenge with the big rainfall we had was the cherries expand and they swell and they split, which means they can’t be sold.’’
Some of it had been hard work, but Charlie was still interested in working in the horticulture industry.
‘‘You’ve got to know what you are doing or else there could be major consequences.’’
Charlie is one of four interns who have been working on local orchards as part of a scheme organised by Southern Horticulture careers progression manager Chelsea Donnelly.
The other three interns are university students Fionnuala Reynolds, Priscilla Creppy and Racheal Tama, Ms Donnelly said.
Her role was to highlight careers in the horticultural industry, Ms Donnelly said.
There were plenty of jobs in the industry and it was not just picking and packing fruit, she said.
‘‘There is marketing, management, exports, logistics. . .’’
The interns learnt about domestic and international markets, as well as learning how variables like the weather could mean quick changes in approach, including reassigning staff and making changes to which fruit was picked or discarded, Ms Donnelly said.
‘‘That continual juggle has happened for the last two weeks.’’
‘‘There are career pathways in horticulture in New Zealand, and there is really exciting innovation happening.’’