Thursday, April 25, 2024

Muka Tangata to simplify food and fibre qualifications

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Set to explore a single core food and fibre certificate for the whole sector.
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Muka Tangata is launching two major qualifications development projects for all food and fibre entry level and agriculture qualifications, standards and micro-credentials. 

Chief executive Jeremy Baker said industry and vocational education partners have made it clear that current qualifications are overly complicated, often too long, and inflexible.

“Our focus is on radical simplification of food and fibre qualifications. This is to create more flexibility for employers, learners, and training providers to meet their needs and those of industry.

“One of the ideas we will be exploring is a single core food and fibre certificate for the whole sector, as well as any necessary specialist qualifications.” 

The focus of the entry-level project is to explore pathways and develop learning opportunities that will enable a wide range of people to transition or enter the food and fibre workforce. The agriculture project will address the workforce skills needs of arable, dairy, sheep, beef, deer, pork and poultry farming. 

“These projects aim to create fit for purpose, flexible, and future-proof qualifications for the food and fibre sector. They will streamline Muka Tangata qualifications and create clearer, simpler, career and learning pathways for learners and workers.”

Muka Tangata will work alongside industry partners, iwi and hapū Māori, and training providers across the regions to obtain a broad view of the sector’s needs. This will include an in-depth analysis of the agriculture industries, clarifying the needs of vocational education and training partners, identifying potential gaps in the existing educational qualifications and programmes, and working out what needs to change. 

To meet the needs of the ever-growing Māori agribusiness sector, Muka Tangata will work with iwi and hapū Māori, Māori businesses, kaimahi in these industries, and kaiako and ākonga involved in training either at school or through a provider. 

Muka Tangata will be seeking input from a wide range of people involved in the sector through an expressions of interest process, supported by drop-in sessions for those with questions on the project and how they can be involved. 

Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland said it is gratifying to see Muka Tangata take a lead in addressing the qualifications framework.

“We support Muka Tangata’s work to ensure we have relevant and focused qualifications and credentials to increase the skills needed on farm. 

“As the complexity of farming continues to develop, we need to be agile in being able to provide staff with flexible training options. The structure of work-based training has changed in recent years, so it is gratifying to see Muka Tangata providing leadership in addressing the qualification framework, particularly at entry level where it has been confusing for farmers in the past to know what is going to benefit both their team and the farm business.

“What we all want to see is an uptake in training and these new qualifications from Muka Tangata is a positive step forward.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s national extension programme manager Olivia Weatherburn said they support Muka Tangata’s approach and its work to equip farmers with qualifications that formally validate their skills. 

“BLNZ maintains a positive working relationship with Muka Tangata and engage in regular meetings. These gatherings empower our industry to advocate for and facilitate vocational training assistance for farmers both now and in the future. 

“Muka Tangata facilitates these discussions and invites us to participate and be the voice on behalf of sheep and beef farmers.

“Having qualifications validates skills and exploring alternative flexible assessment methods instils confidence in farmers when hiring people for their business. It assures them that individuals have acquired the necessary knowledge to fulfil their roles effectively.

“Continual learning throughout life ensures that we can offer future opportunities to the next generation. It also aids in fostering a skilled and confident workforce within the food and fiber sector, supporting its growth.” 

Key dates

March 4: Project information announced [information will sit on this page: Qualification Development Projects – Muka Tangata]

4 March: Project launch seeking expressions of interest from industry, Māori and VET provider contacts details here News – Muka Tangata]

Further information

Muka Tangata represents 14 industry groups that make up the food and fibre sector of Aotearoa – our industry groupings and workforce development plans can be found here

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