Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Economic Development Manager Tom Skerman has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship.
Mr Skerman is one of four new 2016 Nuffield scholars, joining more than 140 of New Zealand’s emerging agricultural leaders to have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships in the past 60 years.
During the year-long scholarship Mr Skerman plans to research the importance of governance for successful and resilient farming businesses. He will travel internationally for at least four months in his scholarship year, take part in a conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world, as well as a six week Global Focus Programme through several countries with other scholars.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Interim Chief Executive Liz Lambert says this is a tremendous opportunity for a key regional council employee.
"While he won’t be on the ground here in Hawke’s Bay for some of next year, we believe what Tom will learn and bring back to the council and the wider community will offer huge benefits," says Mrs Lambert.
HBRC Chairman Fenton Wilson agrees, saying the face of farming in New Zealand is changing and should the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme go ahead there will be changes in Hawke’s Bay as well.
"Tom has an intimate knowledge of farming and the Ruataniwha Scheme and what he will learn during his scholarship year will provide another opportunity for the regional council to add value to farmers in the region," says Mr Wilson.
The scholarships are one of the most respected and prestigious awards available in the primary sector and offer a life-changing opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest development in a number of leading agricultural countries, and an introduction to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.