Recognising the need to upskill, Matt enrolled at EIT and is now into his second year of study towards a National Diploma in Agribusiness Management.
Originally from Norsewood where his family run sheep and cattle on a 40-acre lifestyle block, he went to Dannevirke High School and worked on a dairy farm and then for Williams & Kettle in Dannevirke, Taupo and Waipukurau.
Drawn to overseas travel, he moved to London and worked for a relocation firm, tendering and project managing big office moves in the city.
“My career and travelling kept me there and it was where I met my Kiwi wife Jennifer. We had a good group of friends, but I always wanted to get back to New Zealand and into the rural industries again.”
When the couple returned from OE, he reconnected with former colleagues and realised “to keep up with the technology and the industry, I needed to upskill.”
Matt was assistant manager for the Farmlands retail store in Hastings for two years before joining Biostart Ltd. As the New Zealand-owned and operated company’s eastern North Island territory manager, he looks after key accounts and sells biological products to horticulture and agriculture businesses from Gisborne south to Martinborough and including the Manawatu.
While getting back into study mode 22 years after leaving school was challenging, he says it’s been absolutely worthwhile.
“I’m really enjoying it and learned so much in my first year. I was also remembering what I used to know, but a lot is also new to me.”
Students undertake 2½ years of part-time study covering topics that include financial management, business planning, resource management and human resources.
“I’m learning a lot about the running of agricultural businesses and also honing my skills in terms of managing my area,” Matt says. “My job is about helping to provide farmers with solutions – problem-solving and thinking outside the square when it comes to using something biological.
“I want to be even more thorough when dealing with people in the rural industries and will always be learning.”