Getting stuck in


Massey graduate Leander Archer


After a year in the workforce, Massey graduate and Agriculture Student of the Year Leander Archer reflects on work, applying her study and having the confidence to get stuck in.

Currently employed as a junior consultant at AgFirst, Miss Archer says, “I can't think of a project or major task I have completed at my job that didn’t use skills I gained at university.

“All the stats, excel skills, report writing, soil and plant science, financial skills and mapping skills, that I learnt with my Bachelor of AgriScience, have been helping me with every major project I have done."

Miss Archer has spent time creating business plans, making maps, calculating water balances, creating graphs and writing about the meaning of all this information in reports, for a number of different projects.

She is currently working on projects to improve water efficiency, estimating crop sizes and improving maps, which involves working with companies like Pipfruit New Zealand and Twyford Irrigators Group.

“Things have started changing for me as I have built my confidence, and now I’m ready to begin pushing myself to ask people if they'd like me to be their consultant, something I have now done for the first time in January,” Miss Archer says.

“There was a time when I felt unsure, but I can feel how much I have learnt within one year, and I'm now just excited to see how much I can progress this year. I’ve got to meet many of the people that shape the Hawke's Bay pip fruit industry, including many growers.”

When asked if students should consider studying in her area, Miss Archer says her sector is “booming”.

“There'll be a skill shortage for a long time yet, as there is already a shortage of people because the industry is growing, but now is a good time to get into it because there's still people around to teach you too.  A lot of highly experienced and skilled people are going to be looking to retire in the next 10 years.

Having paid her course fees through scholarships, Miss Archer also says that there are plenty of these available, “as long as you have the passion and decent grades you can get one.”

Since graduating, Miss Archer has become an ambassador for Future In Tech, a programme focusing on bringing those who already work in technology, engineering and science-related industries into schools. Last year she made two school visits within the Hawke's Bay last year, speaking to Napier Girls High School about Horticulture and her role at AgFirst, and how even maths lessons will apply to her job today.  

“I enjoy widening kids understanding of what jobs are out there and what they could do that they might not have considered.”

She explains that the jobs in horticulture are often based in regional centers. “Because you can get good jobs in horticulture in more regional centres you avoid the massively expensive housing in the cities- both for rent, or if you want a chance to buy a first home. 

“My partner and I have managed to buy our first home in Hastings because housing is affordable.”

To learn about the Bachelor of AgriScience, click here. 

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