New agribusiness course

The opportunities for young people to forge a professional career in the agribusiness sector are ''so diverse'', John McGlashan College principal Neil Garry says.

The Dunedin school was one of seven New Zealand secondary schools invited to become ''lead schools'' for the Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Science and Business, the brainchild of St Paul's Collegiate School in Hamilton.

The joint venture between St Paul's and agricultural industry partners aimed to deliver and roll out an agribusiness programme to secondary schools throughout New Zealand.

The initiative, a two year programme for year 12 and 13 pupils, was designed to expose and inspire tertiary capable pupils to the wide range of skills required and opportunities available in pastoral agriculture and its associated career pathways.

The principal partners were DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand, with other business partners.

Each lead school was handpicked to become a training hub for other surrounding secondary schools within each school's region. Southland Boys' and Southland Girls' were also lead schools.

St Paul's has been trialling a pilot curriculum and, next year, each lead school would trial it. Following the pilot, and Ministry of Education approval, it was hoped to offer pupils an NCEA qualification in agribusiness.

It was a ''real accolade'' for John McGlashan College to be invited to be part of the initiative, Mr Garry said.

It was a ''pretty special opportunity'' and attracting tertiary capable boys into agribusiness and science was something that really suited the school, and its 125 boarders, many of whom came from rural backgrounds, and also its day boys.

Assistant principal Iain McGilchrist said the curriculum was a blend of agriculture, science and commerce. It was not teaching the practical, hands on skills of farming.


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