Taratahi and Telford: The future of farming

Two years have passed since chief executive Arthur Graves joined Taratahi, and they have since been faced both with some big challenges and huge opportunities.

The acquisition of Telford near Balclutha in South Otago, an agricultural education organisation previously a Polytechnic and then part of Lincoln University, is a big opportunity for Taratahi.

Joining Taratahi and Telford together shows the future of specialist vocational education for agriculture, which has the support of the board, the community, the primary sector, and Government. The reason behind that support is because the deal has created a nationwide primary-sector education business.

The inclusion of Telford residential campus in the Taratahi stable will enable it to offer consistency of training throughout the country, and, along with its other seven campuses, increase access for students. Combined, the two residential campuses can house around 270 students. Both campuses are part of working farms, so students get to experience rural life every day. Just as importantly, the transfer of Telford to Taratahi means it can now offer more courses and a greater variety of career pathways.

What started out as an institution in 1919 to train about 60 young soldiers for jobs on farms, is now a national organisation that last year trained over 1500 students from across New Zealand and around the world. Taratahi turns over $22 million per annum - making it, on many levels, a significant player in the local economies. In total, it manages around $100 million in farm assets.

The farms provide the foundation of Taratahi's ability to provide real learning on real farms, the heart of its education model, which gives students a competitive advantage when they hit the workforce.

For more information about Telford and study options for 2018 and 2019, visit www.telford.ac.nz or call 0800-TELFORD.

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