Talent Central Launched

Published: 12 April 2016

News type: Local news   

Source: Manawatu District Council



Manawatu is the agribusiness capital of New Zealand, but it is not all about growing grass, the key to maintaining and enhancing this success is growing great people, being innovative and ensuring we can retain the people with the necessary skills.

Talent Central, launched today at Central District Field Days, is a regional initiative designed to make it easier for our talent to remain in the district and gain the skills they need to meet global needs.

Regional growth occurs when talent and industry combine in a region, it also relies on a balance between the skills being generated and the skills needed by industry, the reality is that there is a mismatch.

Conrad Wilkshire from Farmers’ Mutual Group (FMG) believes Talent Central is needed to bridge the gap between talent and opportunities.

“Currently there is a gap between matching the talent we have in the region with the opportunities we have available right now.  We simply need a framework to better connect people with ideas and possibilities that will help shape the future of the region.”

“We almost need to think of Talent Central as a brokerage hub where people looking for talent to make things happen are matched with those who are wanting to make a contribution.”

Talent Central is community, education, and industry all working together to create sustainable futures for our talent, in our region.

“Talent Central is a framework that aligns and supports initiatives and projects” says Manawatu District Mayor Margaret Kouvelis, “This is industry and community working together with our educational institutions, and we already have the backing of our region’s schools”

The framework is based on three pillars that extend and grow leadership, foster innovation at all ages and in all types of employment, and creating pathways for students from education to employment.

Talent Central’s pathways agri- scholarships aim to have 25 students per year engaging in a year-long programme that will allow them to see the full spectrum of primary sector careers.

The programme will be designed to inspire and motivate students about a career in the agri-sector, whether that is on the farm, in the lab, or in the boardroom.

The programme will also provide mentoring and pathways for the students to reach their goals based on their interests. 

“They will get the opportunity to learn what it is like working in the sector, and to understand their own strengths and interests through a week long agri-intensive series of visits to agri-businesses encompassing paddock, lab and plate” says Mayor Kouvelis.

Proliant is the first company to offer sponsorship for 5 students per year to this programme and their General Manager Randal Fitzgerald attended in person from Iowa to announce their support of Talent Central.

“We can have all the natural resources we want, but if we don’t have clued-up, motivated people then we cannot unlock value for the region”, says Randal Fitzgerald, Proliant Chief Operating Officer.                                                                        

“It is important that our youth realise the range of opportunities available to them in the agri-sector, whether that is on the farm, in the lab, or in the boardroom.”


Talent Central Pathways Scholarships

Pathways scholarships are one of Talent Central’s key tools for providing students with a line of sight to careers in our major industries.

Our aim is to have 25 students of early high-school age taking part in our pathways scholarships every year.  They allow a student to engage in a year-long programme where they get to see the full spectrum of careers in the primary sector, understand their own strengths and interests, and gives them a chance to learn what it means to be working in the sector. The programme will include:

  • A week-long agri-intensive consisting of visits to agri-businesses in the Manawatu, encompassing paddock, lab, and plate.
  • Visits by other young people who have just begun their agri careers, with a chance to hear about their pathways.
  • Two to three workshops through the year which explore key issues and opportunities for the agri sector, with a focus on how students would solve them.
  • Help with developing a personalised learning pathway for students, looking at the options they have for building the skills and experience needed in their area of interest
  • Support for the students to share their experiences with others at their respective schools

The programme will be designed to inspire and motivate students about a career in the agri sector, whether that is on the farm, in the lab, or in the boardroom.  The line of sight gained from the programme will help students plan their learning pathway (both in school and after) to get them to where they need to be.