Scholarship opportunity up for grabs

Danni van der Heijden is looking forward to helping select the recipient of next year’s Avoco scholarship.

For the third year, Avoco is excited to announce a scholarship opportunity for tertiary students in 2021.

To help promote understanding of 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 research and development will drive the industry’s growth so it is vital to support young people studying subjects that can extend their own capabilities while providing the industry with future talent.

“In the last two years we’ve been delighted to support two fantastic scholars with their academic study and look forward to selecting another student after reviewing applications for next year’s scholarship.

“Efforts to promote careers within horticulture are starting to pay off with more young people looking to enter our industry with an appreciation for the role that science and research will play in our growth.

Prioritising efforts

“Avoco is prioritising efforts to improve the quality and post-arrival performance of avocados exported to Australia and Asia under our Avanza brand. Fruit quality is one of our industry’s biggest challenges so we must ensure that new graduates have a robust understanding of the science needed to find solutions.”

The 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 team, led by Quality and export systems manager Danni van der Heijden, is investigating these issues along with industry body NZ Avocado.

Steve says Avoco has enjoyed terrific support from avocado grower communities, with its scholarship scheme a way of sharing its success with people interested in a career in horticulture.

“Our industry is expected to grow significantly in years to come and the demand for highly skilled researchers and field technicians will only become greater.

“We’re confident that our scholarship will provide much-needed financial support to a university student on the path to an exciting career in our industry.”

How to apply

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be entering their final year of study for a Bachelor degree (or similar) at any New Zealand university in 2021. 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.

To apply, students must send their resume, a summary of tertiary studies and results to date, with a letter of application by email to Danni van der Heijden at: by October 23.

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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