Avoco offers new tertiary scholarship

Danni van der Heijden says the tertiary scholarship will provide the recipient with valuable financial support and opportunity to contribute to the industry’s ongoing success.

Avoco is excited to announce a new scholarship available for tertiary students in 2019.

As part of efforts to advance New Zealand’s avocado industry, Avoco is offering final-year Bachelor degree students in key subjects a $5000 scholarship towards their study costs.

The successful scholarship recipient will also have the opportunity to explore summer holiday work in a related field of study and receive mentoring and professional support from the Avoco community.

Avoco’s marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says a major driver for offering the scholarship was a desire to extend the industry’s research and development capabilities and recruit more talented graduates to the industry.

“The ability to reliably and consistently deliver premium quality fruit to consumers is critical to Avoco’s continued success in the international marketplace.

“With avocados being a product of nature, there are always challenges in meeting this objective from one season to the next.

“Research and development is a key focus area for Avoco and so we are keen to see more graduates working in this space.”

Areas Avoco would like the avocado industry to further explore include issues related to alternative or irregular crop bearing, crop estimation techniques, post-harvest quality issues, pest and disease control with a focus on consumer and environmentally-friendly options, and shipping technologies that preserve the premium quality of export fruit and extend their shelf life.

Avoco’s technical team, led by Colin Partridge, is investigating these issues along with industry body NZ Avocado. However, further research was always welcomed, says Steve.

“Many of the challenges we face as an industry won’t be solved overnight – they are issues that are likely to require a commitment to lengthy trials and scientific exploration in a New Zealand setting.

“With interest in our industry growing along with export market development in Asia under the Avanza brand, we’re confident we’ll find a tertiary student willing to combine their passion for science and research with a desire to help us find innovative, long-term solutions to challenges we’re keen to overcome.”

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be entering their final year of study for a Bachelor degree or similar at a NZ university in 2019. They must be a NZ citizen or permanent resident whose studies relate to any of the following: fruit production, entomology or plant protection, biosecurity, biochemistry or biological science, post-harvest technology and treatment, or new technologies relevant to horticulture.

One of the mentors guiding the successful recipient will be technical representative Danni van der Heijden. Appointed to Avoco’s technical team earlier this year, her role connects her with growers while also giving her freedom to investigate post-harvest rot control among other issues.

Danni says the tertiary scholarship will provide the recipient with valuable financial support and an opportunity to contribute to the industry’s ongoing success.

“Horticulture is an exciting industry to be working in right now and this scholarship could potentially kick-start someone’s career working with avocados.”

To apply, students must send their resume, a summary of tertiary studies and results to date, along with a letter of application by email to Danni van der Heijden at: danni@avoco.co.nz by Friday, October 19.

Applications should cover how an individual’s studies will benefit Avoco and the avocado industry, examples of leadership skills, any community service roles, and/or sporting and cultural activities and achievements to date, along with a vision for what the applicant wants to achieve in their career.


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