Generating success for farming professionals

Sharon Paterson, with her prize-winning sheep, at the Wyndham A and P Show. Photo supplied.
Sharon Paterson, with her prize-winning sheep, at the Wyndham A and P Show. Photo supplied.
A free professional development programme, aimed at improving the skills of agriculture professionals, begins in Dunedin on October 7.

The Generate programme, which includes nine workshops covering topics as varied as people skills and marketing, leads to a certificate in rural leadership.

Lucy Thomson-Ryan, who will present the Dunedin programme, said Generate "offers so much for people at all ages and stages in their lives".

"I've seen older women blow the group away as they develop self-confidence and presentation skills and younger people experience personal growth and unlock their potential.

"The team dynamics are as valuable as the content. Often older, wiser minds provide direction and younger people add a different aspect and fresh way of looking at things," she said.

Generate is a national programme delivered by Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre at centres around New Zealand.

Sharon Paterson, a Generate Gore graduate and FMG rural manager, particularly valued the presentation and people skills she took from the workshops.

Alongside her working life with FMG, Mrs Paterson manages four sheep studs and a cattle stud with her husband.

"I have been in farming all my life.

I looked to the programme to help me develop more personal confidence and self-confidence in speaking with people. Generate exceeded my expectations.

"Each workshop gave me a different skill, many of which I have applied to my professional life and I have seen great results.

"Months later I am still reflecting on the value of the course and developing more in my professional life," she said.

The workshops were also very social and there were fun team-building exercises and challenges.

"It was great to work through applying theory to real-life situations. Learning about strategic planning really hit the nail on the head for me.

"I learnt how to gather information, assemble it and build a plan from it.

"I have used these skills many times in my working life to date," she said.