For the second year, AVOCO is excited to announce a scholarship opportunity for tertiary students in 2020.

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.

“We were delighted to award the inaugural scholarship to Caitlin McCulloch last year.

“Having studied at Lincoln University, she has a solid appreciation for how scientific excellence and research is so important for advancing our primary industry and helping us resolve our biggest challenges.

“Technical support is a key focus area for AVOCO so the more that graduates know about adding value to our industry through research, the better.”

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, are investigating these issues along with industry body NZ Avocado. However, further research was always welcomed, says Steve.

“Many of the industry challenges we face 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.

“We’re confident we’ll find another tertiary student like Caitlin 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 any New Zealand university in 2020. They must be a New Zealand 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. A member of AVOCO’s technical team, her role connects her with growers while also giving her freedom to investigate post-harvest rot control among other issues.

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

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 no later than Friday October 18.

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.