The pandemic has helped force the hands of Blair Campbell into making a career change from tourism to horticulture.

Blair spent 23 years in the tourism sector as a ski instructor and pilot who flew tourists around Queenstown’s iconic locations, and he had never given much thought to the horticulture sector.

“I had been unaware of how big and important the horticulture industry is for Nelson/Tasman and New Zealand,” says Blair.

The tourism industry, which had been progressing as a thriving world market, has been heavily affected by this year’s pandemic.

Blair had already moved to the Tasman region and was working in a self-employed capacity within tourism when Covid-19 hit.

He says, “two weeks into lockdown, I saw this job advertised and applied.”

Covid career-changer, Blair is now a Wai-West pipfruit block supervisor and has no regrets over the career change.

“I realised over lock-down this was an industry [horticulture] with good secure jobs where staff can get trained while they work. I enjoy the variety of tasks and working in a team environment. It’s an industry where you keep learning.

”He has gone from strength to strength, co-ordinating the team’s tasks and keeping ahead of the game.

Situational awareness as a pilot and the need to never get complacent are skills Blair’s brought over to his new role, along with years of working with people.

Blair has attended Horticulture Supervisory courses run and sponsored by HortNZ, NZAPI and Primary ITO who are all keen to promote careers in the field.

Contact Robyn Patterson, Hort Careers Progression Manager Nelson/Tasman at if interested in moving into the horticultural sector.

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