Friends Eliot Webby and Aliya Fever have stepped through their agriculture studies side by side since they were Year 11 students attending Trades Academy one day a week alongside their secondary school studies.
“We were complete strangers from different schools who became friends,” said Fever, who was at Coastal School at the time, and Webby, who attended New Plymouth Girls High School.
They shared an interest in working with animals and both were aware that that they are better suited to practical hands-on work and learning.
They were back in 2022, their Year 12 year, for the Level 3 Trades Academy programme.
And this year they are on campus completing their New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills (Level 3) and plan on continuing their learning with New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Farming Systems (Level 3) next month.
“Over the last three years we have gained the necessary skills and knowledge that we need for our future career in the agriculture sector, as well as learning things about ourselves and gaining long-lasting friendships along the way,” Webby said.
The agriculture programmes are a mix of class-based theory work and practical education, most of which takes place on a farm in Egmont Village with field trips to complement their learning.
“Aliya and Eliot are getting the benefit of layering up their learning until it becomes second nature, building their confidence and skills,” WITT Te Pūkenga Agriculture Tutor Adrian Edser said.
The proud tutor said the pair did really well in a fencing competition on their visit to the Fieldays this year where their years of practising fence ties paid off.
“It’s been wonderful to ignite their passion and see careers for themselves in the farming,” he said.
The pair are grateful for their tutors and said: “Our amazing tutors and support team really have played a huge part in where we are today. They go above and beyond for us and never fail to give us the support and encouragement we need and give us the best hands-on learning experience.”
They recommend the courses to anyone who enjoys working with animals or has an interest in agriculture, and talk about how the courses have helped them to become more confident, capable and safe in the agriculture industry.
The two of them both plan on working in the agricultural industry and Webby is eyeing up eventually taking her skills to Australia and gaining experience on their large mixed cropping farms.