Courses at Telford prove very popular

Students listen to tutor David Toole (right) discussing rural contracting equipment during a...
Students listen to tutor David Toole (right) discussing rural contracting equipment during a taster/training programme at SIT’s Telford campus recently. PHOTO: SIT
Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)’s primary sector taster camps and the rural contracting training programme are proving so successful the Telford campus is looking at running more formal programmes next year.

Funding for the taster programmes has been provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries to both fill staffing vacancies in the agriculture industries and to provide opportunities for people who have lost their jobs through Covid-19.

Telford programme manager Debbie Rankin said the first primary sector taster camp had eight participants, and more camps were planned for August and October.

‘The taster camps give an overview of the variety of work available in the agricultural sector," she said.

The group visited a dairy farm, a sheep farm, forestry and deer scanning. A trip to an organic farm was cancelled because of flooding.

Space was available for more people.

Telford was also working with DairyNZ as a provider for its three-week GoDairy programme, also designed to inform people about the employment options in the sector and to prepare them at an entry level.

The seven participants had already completed one week online, and would spend two weeks at Telford and on work placement from August 3.

Telford has been working with Rural Contractors New Zealand to run six-week industry training courses.

It was split into two-week blocks at Telford, on driver training and on work placement.

"We have had 114 applications with 95 accepted so far.

"We have organised six courses and the fourth intake started last week, each intake with 14 to 17 people."

MPI had asked Telford to run an extra course.

"We are expecting about 80% will find permanent placements with rural contractors," Ms Rankin said.

"The courses with RCNZ are designed to fill the gaps for contractors with staff who are not coming from the UK this year.

Interest had come from both New Zealanders and people with working visas.

"Contractors have also been going to young people who might be interested in working in the industry and calling us to say they had someone pretty green to go on the course.

"We are really happy to do that."

As the courses were proving popular, Ms Rankin would like to see more included formally in Telford’s programme for next year.

"However, we need to have access to funding."

Rural contractors and agricultural machinery retailers had been supportive, providing work placements and equipment to use on the courses.

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