Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga and Beef + Lamb New Zealand are working together in the Otago region to provide new learning opportunities for those entering the sheep and beef farming industry and those looking to progress their careers.
The organisations have worked together since the early 2000s to support learners (farm staff in training) and have recently developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue the collaboration now and into the future.
As part of this MOU, Beef + Lamb NZ (BLNZ) are hosting Delivery Ready Workshops such as WormWise, Body Condition Scoring and Growing Great Lambs to coincide with Primary ITO block courses.
“This formalises our relationship and means both organisations are bringing what we can to the table to help grow people and connect learners with others in the industry,” BLNZ extension manager for Central South Island Dean Sinnamon said.
Primary ITO Otago Training Adviser Jo Watherston says the MOU is a positive development for learners and is already increasing opportunities for them to gain skills and on-farm experience.
In Otago Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga is offering a new series of block courses in different locations for learners enrolled in the Level 3 and 4 New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture or an Apprenticeship. The block courses include on-farm workshops where learners come together for a couple of days each quarter.
The practical workshops cover a range of topics and are run by Watherston and experienced Primary ITO tutor, Sam Stevens, a Poolburn farmer who is also chair of BLNZ’s Central South Island Farmer Council.
An example is a recent body condition scoring workshop at Sam’s Poolburn sheep stud, where learners got both theory and hands-on experience. Other workshop topics are fencing, dog training, genetics, birthing, and sessions by industry experts.
“Having all these skills come together to support learners is fantastic and has allowed us to build very strong industry training,” Wargerston said.
And for those farmers nervous about the commitment of training staff, Stevens says farmers can rest assured they will be well supported by their Primary ITO training adviser who guides the process and keeps in regular contact with each learner.
Watherston’s role is to support both employers and learners on their journey to achieving qualifications.
She says she loves her work because Primary ITO programmes suit all types of learners. “I just love how we cater for people who have thought they can’t achieve.”
“We have so many people who can achieve and we offer support through study nights, mentors and learning resources.”
More information on the course can be found on the organisation’s website.
A version of this article first appeared on Primary ITO.ac.nz