Monday, 15 December 2008 9:55 AM

Youth Takes on Challenge of Apple Worker

Working to earn some cash does not necessarily mean sitting behind a computer and working an 8-hours shift for a young Solomon Islander, who is among a few fortunate Solomon Islanders selected to be part of the 'apple season workers'.

Speaking to Solomon Times, Elizabeth Talo, 25, said that being part of the team was all about "wanting to do something different".

She said being an apple season worker in New Zealand happened when she heard of the scheme through some friends and decided to try her luck.

The young woman, known to all close to her as Ellie, is preparing for her third trip to New Zealand February next year.

"My first trip out in 2007 was a great discovery journey not only professionally but also personally as a young person venturing out and away from family," she said.

The six months of first year as season worker for young Ellie was "a very nervous experience but at the same time, a great learning avenue for me."

"I was so nervous because I didn't know what to expect switching to a completely different country, especially the idea of going away from my parents and living all alone and learning to be independent," a laughing Ellie recalled.

Asked how she coped with the pressure and changes, she said living in New Zealand has really built her personally, particularly in building her confidence to work independently in the workforce.

"Discipline is one thing I have learnt to adapt to from the start, having to get up as early as six in the morning and work 10 hours a day, tiring but a great learning experience for me and I enjoy every hour," she said.

Ellie said that another exciting experience for her as a young person is meeting and making new friends from other Pacific countries who are also involved in the scheme.

Looking ahead, the young woman said working as a season worker is gate-way to help her achieve a life-long business dream of going into properties.

"A long-term goal for me is to go into properties, build, rent and sell houses," Ellie said.

She encouraged youths in the country to take up whatever opportunities that come their way to earn money in these hard times.

"We cannot achieve our dreams if we just sit back and relax, we need to spread our wings and work towards our goals."

Ellie said that she has had a good long break and "I am really looking forward and excited to go on my next trip".

The apple season in New Zealand has prompted many apple farmers to look to Pacific Islands for much needed labor force.

Solomon Islanders are said to be in high demand by these New Zealand farming companies because of their natural ability to engage in physical work and their pleasant personalities.

Under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, the New Zealand government has enabled employers to recruit workers from any Pacific Island Country for a period of up to seven months each year.