There's a future for every talent in our innovative food & fibre sectors.



Lain Jager

Lain Jager is best known for his time with the hugely successful kiwifruit marketer Zespri where he was CEO from 2008 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO Zespri grew strongly through the impact and recovery from the bacterial vine disease Psa, grower returns doubled, and the share price grew from $1.00 to $8.00. Today, Lain is involved in a range of investment projects in Tourism and Agribusiness, serves as a Director on several Boards, acts as a strategic advisor to a small number of companies, and is Chairman of the Primary Sector Council.


Session 1: While in education

Sam Anderson

Sam is a leader and business professional, with a background in transformational programmes that have outcomes of positive change. Over the last five years, her experience and knowledge has been centred around the education sector. Sam is passionate about keeping the learner at the centre and wrapping support around them from whānau, their community, education professionals, and agencies in a joined up way. This gives the greatest opportunity to maximise each individual’s learning potential, in a way that is meaningful to them.


Adam Barker

Dr Adam Barker is the director of Scarlatti – a research, analytics and evaluation firm. Scarlatti works with training organisations and industry bodies on workforce research and projects to measure the impact of interventions. Adam’s interests include quantitative evaluation models and using the Integrated Data infrastructure for workforce research.


Erin Simpson

Erin’s career in the Horticulture Industry started in the halcyon days of Kiwifruit the first time around in the early 80’s when he completed a cadetship under the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. He made the move to Apples in the 90’s and has worked within many private and corporate Horticultural organisations across the Fruit production and Post-harvest sectors here in New Zealand and overseas. In his current role, Erin engages and collaborates with Government and Industry training providers, helping meet the Pipfruit sectors mandate to attract, grow and retain talent to ensure that the Apple and Pear industry in New Zealand remains the best in the world.


Coadette Low

Coadette grew up in the Hawkes Bay, before heading to Massey University where she completed a BSc in Animal Science and Physiology. Her career then began in South Australia as a Quality Assurance Officer and Microbiologist in the Meat Industry. After a while Coadette realised that she really enjoyed teaching, so switched careers and became an Agricultural Science teacher. In 2016, after four years teaching in Australia, it was time to come home to New Zealand. She is now the teacher of Agriculture and Agribusiness at Rathkeale College in the Wairarapa, which includes managing the Rathkeale Land Lab, and is a Future Beef Expo Committee member. For Coadette, being an Agriculture teacher is incredibly rewarding. Inspiring and guiding the next generation by sharing her passion for Agriculture - inside and outside the classroom.


Anna Heslop

Anna Heslop trained as a journalist and after an early stint at Radio NZ has worked mostly in the area of agri-science communication. She has worked for MAF, AgResearch, Merino Inc, Lincoln University and, for the last seven years, has been Communications manager for the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR). At FAR she oversees all aspects of knowledge exchange with arable farmers, as well as with other funding and stakeholder groups and with the New Zealand public. She also works with universities around scholarship and postgraduate opportunities, and does her best to find ways of getting information about the arable industry into schools.


Session 2: Bridging the gap

Isabelle Coates

Izy grew up on a lifestyle block in Kaikoura and is completing a Master’s in Management of Agribusiness. She is passionate about New Zealand’s food & fibre sectors and believes the area of most concern to the sector is the cross-sector labour shortage. In the future she hopes to work in an area of our food & fibre sectors that builds on our capabilities and engagement with the younger generations - so this research has been a great starting point!


Emma Subtil

Emma grew up on a merino sheep and beef property in Omarama and has developed a strong passion for the food and fibre sector since then. This led her to Lincoln University where she is in her final semester of a Masterʼs in Management of Agribusiness. This is her first research experience, but she is motivated to find out more about the values of future generations and how the food & fibre sectors can adapt to attract talented and passionate young people.


Doug Macredie

Sector Capability Manager, Beef+Lamb New Zealand


Kim Holland

Kim Holland is the Chief Executive of the Eastland Wood Council. She has a background in economic and workforce development, tertiary/training and education. Her forestry experience goes back to her days as a careers advisor at CareersNZ, implementing the Forest Industry Big Day Out in 2015. Kim is now driven by the passionate people working in forestry, the forestry career opportunities, and being able to make a difference to (young) people’s lives through supported training into employment in forestry.


Mark Williams

Mark Williams has 22 years of experience in the vocational education and training sector. Working initially with NZQA in the development of the qualifications framework, he moved to the Agriculture ITO as a qualification developer then as Qualifications and Quality Assurance Manager. For over 15 years he has worked as a Senior Industry Training Consultant, joining the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation as Insight and Innovation Manager in 2015. Mark has established, led and presented nationally and internationally on industry research projects including: increasing the participation and success of Women in Trades; professional upskilling of employers and newly qualified apprentices; and return on Investment from workplace vocational education.


Session 3: 2020 and beyond

Linda Sissons

Linda has been involved in management and governance roles with a learning flavour, for most of her career. She has just completed three and a half years as Chief Executive of the Primary ITO, the organisation which sets standards and supports apprenticeship and training throughout the primary industries. Current governance roles include being Chair of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning, one of only two pan-Commonwealth organisations, dedicated to furthering economic and social development through technology-enabled education; and a Board member of Education New Zealand, the agency that promotes NZ education for overseas students and offshore. Linda is a member of the Establishment Board of New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology; an over-arching organisation that will provide work-based and off-the-job vocational learning and training New Zealand wide.