Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Students get glimpse of career in farming

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Year 10 pupils visit Pāmu farm in Horowhenua
Tony Dowman speaks to Waiopehu students about farming careers
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More than 300 Horowhenua Year 10 pupils got to see what a career in farming looked like firsthand at the Get-Go Futures Day last month.

Get-Go is a programme delivered by The Horowhenua Company Ltd in partnership with Horowhenua College, Manawatū College and Waiopehu College. 

For the fourth annual event, the pupils and their teachers visited a range of employers to explore local employment options. 

The day promoted farming as a career and students were guided through three hands-on experiences at Tūtoko Dairy Farm, a Pāmu farm in Horowhenua. 

Pupils learnt about the importance of science and maths in relation to crop and grass management, and gained  insights into the operations of a milking shed and machinery operations such as tractors in feeding out, crop drilling and sowing.

From the moment they stepped off the bus into the sterilisation containers they started their learning about bio hazards on the organic dairy farm. 

Talking them through a range of roles on the farm, Tony Dowman, the dairy farm manager, highlighted the lifestyle and job opportunities that the dairy industry has to offer and the qualifications and skills that each role requires.

Letitia Bonner, the farm’s business analyst and an ex-Waiopehu student herself, talked to students about the dairy industry and they participated in a fun activity, measuring out 1 kilogram of grass, to discuss how much grass production is needed to feed a dairy herd eating 18kg a day each. 

Loving the outdoors and learning to ride a motorbike and drive a GPS self-steering tractor were discussed on the tour of farm machinery.  

Budding farmers were keen to discuss what they would be learning and the skills required on a seasonal dairy farm.  

Horowhenua College principal Grant Congdon said  the Futures Day “gives students the chance to connect their classroom learning to the real world. It’s often hard for young people to see how what they’ve learnt at school can be applied to jobs.”

One Waiopehu student said it was “a really eye-opening experience seeing the opportunities we have locally. I loved getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things.” 

Fraser Daysh, the workforce adviser from Get-Go who organises co-ordination between colleges and business, said Futures Day enables students and businesses to “build connections and for students to understand what goes on behind closed doors. We see Futures Day as an opportunity to open student eyes to local opportunities and start them thinking about career options which can be refined throughout their school journey.”

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