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Last term, we had the privilege of hosting our second AP/ DP day out with the senior leadership team from our local secondary schools. Every AP/DP experience is carefully crafted to provide a unique focus around a central theme. For this event the theme was ‘Pioneering Technology’. 

The day began with WNT Ventures, an organisation driven by curiosity for technological advancements and a deep commitment to partnering with companies that have the potential to change the world. WNT Ventures thrives on engaging with entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their ideas, leaving no stone unturned to ensure their success. 

This diverse and vibrant team offers a wide range of perspectives that supplement their decision-making processes. With a collective background in AgriTech, MedTech, ClimateTech, Sustainability, AI, Machine Learning, Automation, Aerospace, and Engineering, the team has cultivated pivotal local and international relationships. Their expertise extends to hardware development, making them an impressive force in the tech ecosystem. 

Carl Jones, CEO of WNT Ventures, provided us with insights into their work-stream and the remarkable projects they have been involved in. Additionally, we had the privilege of hearing from TJ Laurino, a Senior Investment Analyst, and Grace Holland, an Investment Analyst, who shared their journeys through secondary school to university to their current roles. Their stories were captivating and offered invaluable advice for those looking to enter the tech industry. 

From there the group visited Farmer Auto Village, and were warmly welcomed by Mike Farmer, Group Managing Director. The visit unfolded with an informative tour of this expansive automotive site which boasts a workforce of over 170 dedicated staff members. 

Farmer Auto Village serves as a hub for automotive enthusiasts, offering an impressive lineup of 12 new car brands spread across two locations, alongside an extensive selection of over 150 used cars. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or managing a business fleet, the Village provides a seamless experience for browsing and test-driving various models. During the visit, the group were given a glance into the rapid technological advancements within the automotive industry, as well as an introduction to the diverse career opportunities available. From roles in services and parts, to sales and finance, and administration and customer relations, the Village showcases a wide spectrum of career paths. As the tour came to an end, we enjoyed lunch at their on-site café. 

The day concluded at Robotics Plus, an innovative New Zealand company celebrated for its groundbreaking contributions to the Primary Industry through automation of robotic products. Andrew Dawson, Chief Operating Officer, and Nathan Soich, Chief Commercial Officer, hosted at their warehouse in Tauriko, where they explained the ins and outs of their operations and some of their groundbreaking products, such as:  Ground vehicles (unmanned ground vehicles). A highly adaptable and configurable autonomous platform that caters to a wide range of tree crop tasks. Fruit processing (Aporo fruit packer). Designed to transform the fruit packing process, it promises fast and precise packing—a game-changer in the industry. 

And Port automation (log scaler), Robotics Plus introduced the world’s first robotic log scaling machines. Previously a slow and potentially hazardous manual process, log scaling, is now executed accurately by these machines. Additionally, the team had the privilege of hearing from Michael Bernard, a Junior Mechanical Engineer, who shared his career journey and internship experience with Robotics Plus, shedding light on the exciting opportunities within the company. 

As Tauranga Moana continues to expand, the significance of attracting and retaining talent has never been more pronounced. The Priority One Instep Team is committed to organising informative and insightful events within our business community to foster collaboration with our education providers towards innovative solutions for the future of work. A big thank you to all three businesses that generously supported and gave their time and knowledge for AP/DP Day Out.