Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Graduates get opportunity to learn the ropes


We are repeating our popular Graduate Development Programme with eight new graduates starting this month. The graduates have come from Massey, Lincoln, Otago and Canterbury universities.

The former students will be taken through every aspect of the business over the next six months before starting in their chosen position.

One graduate is 21-year-old Johanna Smith, a Lincoln University honours graduate and former winner of the Ravensdown Hugh Williams Memorial Scholarship.

“I remember the Ravensdown agri manager’s visits to my parents’ farm in Culverden when I was growing up and I knew I wanted to do something like that. The graduate development programme is a great way to kick-start my career in this industry and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the different parts of the business,” says Joanna.

Johanna studied agricultural science and is looking forward to putting her knowledge to good use in a practical environment.

I’m looking forward to seeing how everything I learnt at university is put into practice in real-life situations. I can’t wait for the opportunity to start visiting farms and meeting customers.

As well as being a star student in her agricultural studies, Johanna speaks Mandarin and is hoping to learn more about the language. She was awarded one of five ANZ Future Leader scholarships and will use this to study a graduate diploma in Chinese extramurally through Massey University over the next two years.

Bryan Inch, our GM Customer Relationships, is always impressed with the calibre of applicants and is looking forward to seeing this year’s graduates further develop their skills throughout the programme.

“It’s the people that make the agri-sector what it is so we invest in teaching these graduates the practical insights into the business to complement their experience so far. The knowledge and skills they learn further enhance our technical teams,” says Bryan.

One talented graduate who completed the programme last year is Rei Marumaru (Te Atiawa). Rei grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Bulls and studied at Lincoln University.

“Because I grew up on a farm, I had a good general understanding of the industry. Going through the graduate programme taught me so much about why certain things are done and that there’s so much more to this business than just fertiliser,” says Rei.

Rei is now based in Morrinsville and encourages anyone wanting to kick-start their career in the industry to apply for the next intake.

There’s a great amount of support in this programme. You get to see all sides of the business and meet some awesome people along the way - I highly recommend it.

Interest in the programme has grown significantly since inception in 2015, with a dramatic increase in applications. The applicants have varied backgrounds; this year we have two graduates with a process engineering background, and two who have focused their study on the environment and sustainability.

“When we started this programme in 2015, we received 30 applications and this year we had 168. Over the long term, this helps with continuity and quality of service to our shareholders,” says Bryan.

Over the course of the programme, the graduates will spend time learning about all aspects of our business. From spending time in the field with agri managers, to completing numerous internal and external short university courses - including the first stage of their sustainable nutrient management qualification.