A NEW OPAC Secondary School Scholarship recipient has been announced this week.
OPAC chief executive Ian Coventry said Trident High School student Jack Cederman was the second recipient of the OPAC Secondary School Scholarship.
Former Opotiki College student Richelle Herrick received the scholarship for 2017 and has now completed one year at the Massey University campus in Palmerston North.
The two scholarship recipients will both work at OPAC during the school holidays, with the paid work being part of the scholarship programme.
Richelle said her university studies were going all right and that she would complete a summer paper during her three months off.
She is studying for a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biochemistry and complementing that with psychology and business studies.
Arriving at university was “different.”
“You do learn time management,” she said. “I got into the pace during the second semester.”
Jack said he became aware of the OPAC scholarship thanks to a flyer that was handed out during a study period.
His interests are sustainability and the environment.
Jack will also study for a Bachelor of Science, focusing on biodiversity, ecology and environmental studies at Victoria University in Wellington.
Mr Coventry said both scholarship recipients underscored the fact there was a broad range of job opportunities within the kiwifruit industry.
“Sustainability is a big factor for us,” he said.
Shipping its products all over the world, OPAC needed to demonstrate sustainability across the kiwifruit value chain.
Packaging materials such a plastics and cardboard were among the considerations.
Both scholarship recipients will act as “kiwifruit industry ambassadors” within their university environments, helping spread the word about the industry to their peers.
“One issue for us is how do we connect with the university students,” Mr Coventry said.
“We are looking at employing more university graduates.”
Mr Coventry said the company was preparing projects for Jack to get stuck into during his holiday work.
The scholarship is worth $1500 per year towards the fees in addition to the holiday work and industry connection.
The two students underscored the fact that the scholarship goes beyond horticulture and Opotiki, Mr Coventry said.