14 May 2024 at 10:30 am

Agents get a taste of ENZ’s ‘Future of Sustainable Food’ pilot at ICEF ANZA 2024

An overwhelming positive response was received from agents who trialled ENZ’s ‘Future of Sustainable Food’ education pathways pilot at the ICEF ANZA workshop in Ōtautahi Christchurch last month.  

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Over 50 international education agents at the ICEF ANZA workshop held in Ōtautahi Christchurch from 22 to 24 April experienced Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao's (ENZ) education pathways prototype (Stage 1). The prototype was designed to introduce students to the huge global opportunity around sustainable food design and production, and the world-leading education pathways from New Zealand institutions that can open employment doors into a wide range of exciting careers. 

“In New Zealand, you can learn from top experts and study in the heart of where food is grown, technology is advanced, and industry opportunities abound." 

This pilot came about in response to agents’ demand for more information about what expertise sets New Zealand apart from other destinations and makes a New Zealand education unique.  

An education agent from Australia trials the ‘Future of Sustainable Food’ prototype at the ICEF ANZA conference held in Ōtautahi Christchurch last month.

To develop the pilot, ENZ worked with Jix Reality – a Christchurch-based tech company headed up by an ex-international student to New Zealand – using virtual reality to provide an immersive and engaging experience, including examples of real New Zealand study environments. The user journey involved a visualisation of the full breadth of the food production value chain, illustrating how this goes well beyond agriculture to encompass other domains and careers such as food engineering, value chain management and marketing. The experience went on to highlight New Zealand’s credentials as one of the world’s top food developers and exporters, and allowed the user to browse relevant study programmes and consider which one could lead them to their desired future career.  

Jix Reality Founder, Sakthi Ranganathan, (right) is seen here demonstrating the sustainable food production narrative on an interactive table with an education agent from Kenya.

ENZ’s General Manager Sector Engagement and Innovation, Wendy Kerr, was on hand at the workshop to talk to the agents and collect feedback via a survey. Wendy said that the results were very clear – agents agreed almost unanimously that the prototype provided new and useful information about New Zealand’s strengths, study pathways for students and future employment opportunities in this field. 

“92% also confirmed that this experience made it more likely that they would recommend New Zealand as a study destination. 

“One agent said that they think it is a great tool to market New Zealand as students can see their future and make informed decisions while another told me that it was a great experience and the tech and approach is ahead of its time,” added Wendy. 

ICEF ANZA Chief Executive, Markus Badde, trialled the VR experience and is pictured here providing his feedback to Jix Reality Founder, Sakthi Ranganathan, and ENZ’s GM Sector Engagement and Innovation, Wendy Kerr.

Attending education providers also had the opportunity to try the prototype, one describing it as “a wonderful virtual reality marketing tool which is of enormous value to agents, schools and service providers. A great investment and even better you have used a Christchurch based company to develop it.” 

This pilot forms part of ENZ’s Innovation and Growth programme, seeking new ways to support the diversification and growth of the international education sector. The next stage for the pilot will be for ENZ’s Innovation and Growth team to use the feedback collected to develop the prototype further. It will then be turned into a marketing tool that is more accessible, informative and scalable for agents to use with students.  

If you’d like to help us with beta testing or contribute content to future stages please register your interest with tim.brown@enz.govt.nz. 

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