Programme to train people in basic farm skills for free

People in Otago and Southland wishing to train in agriculture will have another option next year.

Following the success of its pilot programmes in Gisborne and the Wairarapa, the employer/farmer-led Growing Future Farmers (GFF) charitable trust plans to run a two-year, zero fees training programme in the region.

Ten or 12 students will learn basic farming skills, and once they graduate they will have GFF Essential Farm Skills certification as well as a NZQA Level 3 qualification in agriculture and will be work-ready.

The programme is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and will run for 46 weeks each year.

Trust general manager Cyn Smith said it was holding farmer trainer meetings at the Top Pub, Winton, from 5.30pm, on July 20, and the Kurow Hotel, July 21 from 5.00pm.

The trust is keen to attract farmers willing to offer a place on their farm for trainees taking part in the programme and the meetings will inform farmers about what was required.

Trainees will learn practical workplace skills both in classrooms and on the farm, from 4WD training through to fencing, chainsaw use, animal health care and dog training with an initial two-week orientation course.

"Farm IQ will track the hours they spend and they will have a testimonial at the end."

Each student will live on-farm, and received a living allowance bursary as well as meat and fruit and vegetable allowances.

They will also have access to pastoral care and support from a regional liaison officer, who is to be hired later in the year, as well as subsidised equipment, clothing and two puppies for dog skills.

"Through a national collaborative training and development programme, GFF aims to provide a credible pathway for future farmers, from an entry level Essential Farm Skills programme to Advanced Farm Skills and Business Management.

"GFF is a motivated employer-led training initiative seeking farmers willing to invest in the future of the sheep, beef and deer sector by providing a two year on-farm "entry level" training opportunity for young people (with GFF structure and liaison support)."

The programme will offer 60 places in six regions, including Otago and Southland.


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