Annika Korsten wants to get more young people involved in
the rural sector. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Annika Korsten is on a mission to expose disengaged
Dunedin youth to rural work opportunities.
Ms Korsten, a recipient of a $100,000 World of Difference
grant from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, is
establishing a programme, on behalf of the Malcam Charitable
Trust, to develop opportunities for young people aged 18 to
24 to transition to work or further rural training.
Describing herself as passionate about people, place and food
and the inter-relationship between the three, she said she
enjoyed facilitating networks and connecting people.
Originally from Germany, Ms Korsten came to New Zealand to
study ecology. After completing her master's degree, she
started working with the Centre for Sustainability at the
University of Otago and did some research in sustainable
It was during that time she came up with the idea of a
programme that was meaningful for young people, having seen
an obvious gap in getting them into the sector.
The 12-week programme would provide induction, on-farm
hands-on experience, ongoing mentoring, visits to
food-processing facilities, and foundation studies.
The farming industry was ''crying out'' for young people and
the programme would bridge the disconnect between urban
Dunedin and rural settlements, she said.
''The programme will not only train young people in farming
practice but provide an understanding of the role agriculture
plays in New Zealand and spark enthusiasm for course
participants to embark on other agriculture-related
opportunities,'' she said.
During the next few months, she would network with education
providers, agricultural-based programmes, farmers and young
people to develop an understanding of the rural sector and
It was hoped to run a pilot programme in about six months'
time, involving four to five people. Already several farmers
were interested and there had been positive feedback to the
initiative. Coming from a research background, she was able
to ''ask the right questions''.
She was also a practical person and had worked both in the
community and with young people, she said.