Welcome to the new-look, high-tech world of the primary industries
Does working in a leading edge, high-tech environment appeal to you? Welcome to the primary industries, where partnering with others can help find solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Be part of the technological revolution
The future of New Zealand’s primary industries depends on us maintaining a competitive edge as producers of high-quality products.
But there are challenges. A rising global population with more people to feed, climate change putting pressure on our resources, and increasing labour costs are revolutionising food and farming methods, and changing the types of jobs in demand.
The future world of work in the primary industries is one where people with technology, engineering and science skills help solve real-world problems. Finding sustainable ways to feed 10 billion people by 2050 is mobilising radical new developments in robotics and data to improve efficiencies on the land and water.
Many New Zealand companies are looking at how they can adopt revolutionary new robotic technologies. Some of the technology is being developed here and it’s only a matter of time before using robots becomes widespread throughout the primary industries.
In the Robotics Plus video you’ll see the exciting, leading-edge harvesting, pollinating and packing robotic technology created right here in Aotearoa. The apple packer alone can sort and pack up to 120 apples a minute – faster than a team of two humans and with much greater accuracy and delicacy. It’s a snapshot of the primary industries in the technological era.
Why robots will grow your fruit in the future – 2.37 mins. (Video courtesy of Techweek)
Work in partnership to find innovative solutions
The Robotics Plus video shows high-tech robotics are the result of people working in partnership – a collaboration between the technically talented and the visionary entrepreneur. It’s about identifying solutions to problems in the horticultural industry and channelling ideas into commercially valuable products – robots!
Working in partnership is the future of the primary industries. Teams of scientists will work together to improve efficiencies on the land and sea. When this leads to new digital or mechanical agricultural technology (agritech), it will be engineers who translate the science into commercial products.
Get inspired by sustainable scientific projects
If you’re committed to a sustainable future, there’s some impressive science and technology already making an impact. Committed teams of scientists are doing things like breeding new kiwifruit cultivars to reduce reliance on pesticides, and developing innovative agritech such as:
- an internet-connected, sheep parasite diagnostic system to allow farmers to reduce drugs used in animal production
- precise water sensors to help manage water use
- ultraviolet light treatment of seeds and seedlings to improve crop yield and increase disease resistance
- more precise seafood harvesting technologies, with nets and trawlers that select out juvenile fish.
Open doors to the food tech lab
A massive global shift in consumer food choices, with a trend towards eating alternative proteins, is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2020. This is opening doors to an exciting future in science-based careers. Consumer awareness of the links between high meat consumption and disease, and concerns about the environmental costs of expanding livestock production (like water and soil pollution, antibiotic resistance and animal welfare issues) are driving this trend.
Meeting the needs of consumers will provide stimulating opportunities in areas like food technology and biotechnology. Can you picture yourself creating new food products or nutritional supplements for one of New Zealand’s big food production and processing companies? Chances are you’d be looking at ways to mimic the texture, taste and nutritional profile of animal-based products, making everything from non-dairy milks to pea-protein burgers!
Sell our clean, green ‘foodie’ stories to the world!
Consumers are increasingly asking questions like, “Where did this kiwifruit come from? Who grew it? How did it end up in my fruit salad?” They’re questions that will have an enduring effect on the types of jobs that will flourish in the future. For example, the need for transparency will increase demands on roles connected with the supply chain and marketing. If you can connect with global customers and tell our clean, green stories, it’ll be you who helps build high-value brands and enhance New Zealand’s reputation.
The future is an open door of possibilities and partnerships between technically skilled and visionary people. It’s also one where people with skills like marketing, policy, and quality control will play an invaluable role in the new primary industries landscape.
Whether you want to design and build cutting-edge robots, find alternatives to pesticides, concoct novel-flavoured protein burgers, develop marketable products for the world, ensure products reach consumers in prime condition, or promote our boutique brands around the globe, there’s a place for you in the primary industries future workforce.
If you need help with your career decision making, you can contact us for expert career advice between 8am and 6pm every week day, for free.
- Call us on 0800 222 733 (free from mobiles)
- Chat online with us
- Talk to your teachers, whānau, 'āiga and parents about ideas and subject choices
- Talk to your career adviser about work experience or Gateway placement
Find out more
Careers New Zealand website
- Learn more about working in the primary industries
- Learn more about environmentally sustainable jobs
- Engineering New Zealand website – Working in primary industries
- GrowingNZ website – A future for every talent
- Ministry for Primary Industries website – Growing our future
- Lincoln University website – Information about Lincoln Hub
- Stuff website – Time for New Zealand farmers to take on new technologies
- New Zealand Geographic website – Farming for our future
- Eco-Business website – A question of sustainability… Investors eye plant-based shift to alternative proteins
Updated 30 Aug 2018