Interest driving updates of SIT’s primary sector courses

The Southern Institute of Technology had 13,290 students on its books last year. PHOTO: PETER...
The Southern Institute of Technology. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Southern Institute of Technology is planning to introduce or update forestry, apiculture, horticulture and aquaculture courses to cater for the increasing demand for primary sector workers.

It was working to add hydroponics at the Telford campus next year, in addition to its NZQA organic horticulture qualifications, head of faculty Dr Teri McClelland said.

"Telford has glasshouses and cultivation areas, which have not been used for some time, and have been getting cleaned up."

The campus has equine facilities, including stables and an arena, which were under-utilised, so it intended to provide further equine qualifications in line with an updated and refreshed NZQA framework and delivery.

Equine students would be able to bring their horses to the campus or lease horses if they needed to.

Telford has also been talking to logging company owner Mike Hurring, of Balclutha, who tutors agriculture students in chainsaw safety, about running forestry courses to meet the shortage of staff in that industry.

"We have got some very active forestry people who are supportive of Telford so we want to help in that sector," Dr McClelland said.

The bee industry had requested new apiculture courses, including online, block and weekend courses, so tutors had been working with apiarists to develop those, which were proving popular.

"They have started and we have our first cohort of 30 students."

SIT was also exploring options for aquaculture qualifications at its Invercargill campus.

Many of the new courses would be government funded and free to students.

It was likely the aquaculture and equine courses would be offered under the zero fees scheme.

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