As one of South Australia’s most valuable sectors, agriculture is worth almost $7 billion to the State’s economy each year.
Local businesses Perfection Fresh, who grow tomatoes and mini qukes (cucumbers), and SA Mushrooms, are leveraging the skills, knowledge and experience of international students and graduates, in this high-tech and rapidly growing industry.
Through its graduate program, Perfection Fresh employs international students and graduates in a variety of roles, part-time or full-time, ranging from growing, up to senior management.
“Perfection decided to hire international students because they’ve got a wealth of knowledge, they’ve seen different growing conditions internationally and understand different risks, and then can mitigate those risks with the technology on-site,” said Troy Topp, General Manager of Perfection Fresh.
Troy believes that hiring international students has helped the company foster an inclusive culture.
“They bring with them all their stories and experiences, and it’s great to share that with all the other employees throughout the company,” he said.
At SA Mushrooms, South Australia’s largest privately-owned mushroom farm, owner Nick Femia also hires international students, many of which are employed on a part-time basis.
“It’s quite easy to employ an international student,” said Nick.
“Many of them can work part-time, many of them can work full-time, and by having the best of both worlds, it’s easier to organise our schedules.
“We love having international students here - they add to the culture, they’re eager, they’re happy, they’re committed, and they just all round do a great job,” he said.