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