A pilot programme with an innovative new farm training initiative could begin in Wairarapa as early as January 2020, pending student enrolments.
While the decision on the future of the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre is still pending the outcome of the liquidation process, farmers and the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy (WEDS) team have moved ahead to help fill the gap.
The new programme, which is mutually beneficial to students and farmers, is designed and monitored by industry specialists and is delivered locally with students living and learning on quality Wairarapa sheep and beef farms. The aim is to give students credible on-farm experience and help them grow real confidence and industry skills.
Masterton sheep and beef famer Andrew Freeman, with support from Beef+Lamb NZ and Federated Farmers, has helped coordinate the new initiative for the Wairarapa to establish farmers’ interest in participating and hosting students for the pilot programme. A high-quality group of Wairarapa farmers have now registered their interest to lead the way as trainers and are calling for interested students to register their interest.
The pilot programme provides a genuine career pathway from entry level right through to business management – which appealed to the Wairarapa farmers working with WEDS to find fresh opportunities to train young farmers.
“We urgently need students to embark on an industry aligned pathway within the sheep and beef sector,” Freeman.
“They need to emerge genuinely work–ready, with deep practical experience supported by quality industry led learning, and this programme fits the bill.”
“It is a modern farm-based version of the traditional cadet model. The big difference being the full-time 1-1 placement and training of students on farm, offering a win-win for both students and farmers, encouraging the farming industry to work together to attract and grow young staff.”
The programme also gives students direct access to industry experts for specialist training and skills.
The closure of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre left a gap for primary sector training in Wairarapa, and while the government’s review of vocational education and the Taratahi liquidation process will eventually resolve, the WEDS team were not happy leaving such a long gap in such a critical area of Wairarapa’s economy.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said Wairarapa’s work to ensure vocational education training is relevant and responsive to employer needs is strongly aligned to the Government’s recently announced Reform of Vocational Education.
“I look forward to seeing the graduates of this programme have successful careers in the Beef and Lamb sector,” Hipkins said.
Labour List MP based in Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty commends the work done by the Primary Sector Skills Training group under WEDS.
“The government continues to make progress in establishing a new provider at Taratahi but this an excellent initiative that ensures agricultural training continues in Wairarapa in the interim and moving forward,” McAnulty said.
“I join industry bodies and producers in welcoming this.”
New Zealand First MP Ron Mark is also backing the programme.
“This is another excellent example of a local initiative, supported by PGF funding (for Wairarapa investigation of primary vocational training), that can assist a vital industry and provide opportunities for young people in our region.”
The WEDS team would like to hear from students interested in launching their sheep and beef career via this exciting pathway in the Wairarapa.
For more information contact
Andrew Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org
027 222 6822