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PGG Wrightson Internship Program
15 March 2024
Company News

Celebrating the Inaugural PGG Wrightson Research & Development Intern Program

A strategic priority of PGG Wrightson is Customer-Focused innovation which includes cultivating a deep understanding of our customers' businesses and pinpointing opportunities for solutions based on advancements in science and systems innovation. Of equal priority, and something we take immense pride and enjoyment in, is fostering the growth of upcoming talent in the primary industry. With these dual objectives at heart, we are delighted to have launched a paid summer internship program tailored for university students nationwide.

This ten-week program provides a unique chance for students to pair up with an experienced mentor from either our extension teams or our R&D team and immerse themselves in real-world research and field trials. As well as undertaking research, interns work in the field with Technical Horticulture Reps and Technical Field Reps, complete trials with the R&D team, join in field training, and spend time in our stores, wool and livestock business.

The inaugural cohort of interns included Jenna Miekle, Beth Williams and Meg Gordon. While the research the Interns undertook provided them with a paid job for the summer and exposure to careers and opportunities within the primary sector, the benefit of the program doesn’t stop there. The research forms the foundation for initiatives that have the potential to influence key products and services on offer within PGG Wrightson including:

Jenna’s Fodder beet aphid survey, which measured the influence of potential virus infection enhances our understanding of pest dynamics and disease management strategies in fodder beet crops.

Beth's project focused on scale monitoring and life cycle studies in kiwifruit, with a special emphasis on exploring the use of biological control agents to combat PSA in stressed and unhealthy kiwifruit vines. Her work will help ensure our clients do not miss export opportunities to countries that prohibit the presence of scale on produce. 

Meg investigated the use of summer crops as a potential cultural control mechanism for reducing sheep internal parasite loads. Her research revealed valuable insights that hold promise for sustainable parasite management practices in the livestock sector. With sustainability rating as the top priority for clients in the latest PGW Customer Research, and the agricultural industry increasingly embracing environmentally conscious approaches, Meg's findings not only align with the growing demand for sustainable agriculture but also provide farmers with crop options that improve animal welfare and weight gain, while maintaining productivity.

Our internship program provides students with a holistic experience that prepares them for future careers in the primary industry. Through hands-on projects, exposure to various departments, and mentorship opportunities, interns gain valuable skills, knowledge, and networks that will serve them well in their professional journeys.

We are grateful for the support of Callaghan Innovation, our staff who dedicated significant time to the program, sharing knowledge and experience, and the inaugural interns who worked diligently, over their summer break. Their perseverance through challenges, attentive focus in data collection and careful thought in presenting the findings have set a high benchmark for future programs. We look forward to recommencing the Internship Program in December 2024.

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