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The nationwide initiative is funded by Young Farmers, Ravensdown and Beef & Lamb NZ.
NZ Young Farmers territory manager Bridget Huddleston said the event was a professional development day for secondary school teachers of all subjects.
‘‘The day is all about showcasing the primary sector; the opportunities to use food production as a context for learning in their own subjects, and also the array of careers in the sector too,’’ she said.
The group heard from guest speaker David Stevens at Invermay’s AgResearch. They then boarded a bus to AbacusBio where they listened to scientist Dr Gertje Petersen, followed by a stop off at Traquair Station before finishing at Nicola and Cameron Van Dorsten’s dairy farm.
‘‘We need young people coming through that have common sense as well as passion,’’ Mr Wilson, who is farm manager at Traquair Station, said.
‘‘We get a number of work experience kids up here and the ones that excel are clearly the ones that haven’t been given an easy ride.
‘‘They can take instruction, they can take initiative, they aren’t afraid to ask questions if they don’t understand.
‘‘If you ask me, that is the type of young person we want to see more of.’’
Some students found it hard to make the decision to go into tertiary study or straight into work after school.
Mr Wilson said a year of practical on-farm work could be hugely helpful when it came to further study.
‘‘Matching that theory up with what they already understand in practice can be really beneficial’’.
Mr Wilson said farming was not just for the ‘‘non-academic types’’.
‘‘As long as the ambition and drive is there, the agricultural industry is so diverse, it can be hugely satisfying for all types of people.’’
Getting on-farm experience for those who did not have the connections could be a challenge, Mr Wilson said.
‘‘It’s just a matter of getting a foot in the door. Collie clubs can be a good place to start’’ he said.
‘‘I would suggest they get in touch with a collie club near them and offer to help at a working bee or be a clerk for a judge.’’
Kavanagh College teacher Jill Armstrong said the Teachers Day Out was extremely interesting and offered practical solutions she could take back to the classroom and share with her students.
‘‘The new Agribusinesses level one and two courses have also been fantastic,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s all there for students who are keen on the agriculture industry.’’
-By Alice Scott