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Aoraki Polytechnic and Grow Mid Canterbury

Agricultural education is being given a huge boost in Mid-Canterbury with new programmes being rolled out by Aoraki Polytechnic.

This is following on from the work led by Rob Brawley Chief Executive of Grow Mid-Canterbury who, working closely with Willy Leferink of Federated Farmers, developed a capability plan which identified a need for more managers in Agribusiness as well as skilled agriculture employees. They then approached the polytechnic about upgrading its agri-business education capability and extending its agricultural teaching arm to Mid Canterbury.

“We have been working on the development of this for some time, it’s promising to see it coming to fruition”, said Brawley.

Aoraki Polytechnic Chief Executive Alex Cabrera said the polytechnic has been working closely with Grow Mid-Canterbury and Federated Farmers to develop the courses, which will cover everything from a farming cadetship programme to the more intensive New Zealand Diploma in Agribusiness Management.

“We are committed to working with industries across our region to deliver the skills required to drive the local economy”, he said.

The Diploma in Agribusiness Management course will commence in October, with a further intake in February next year. The course takes two to three years part time while students work in management positions within the industry.

Polytechnic portfolio manager for Primary Industries Andrea Leslie said the programmes were developed after extensive collaboration with industry groups, which had identified a need for more agribusiness training.

This included the need for more skilled farm workers, and to upskill existing employees.

“The potential this relationship offers is really great. This is just a starting point. We are grateful for the support of Grow Mid-Canterbury who have given this project life’.

Leslie said it made sense to offer agribusiness programmes in the region. “Mid-Canterbury is the centre of the South Island and the economic growth there is very strong.’’

The region is highly reliant on food production, and a variety of agricultural industries like irrigation, seed and arable farming.

Other agribusiness education initiatives were also being explored for Mid-Canterbury such as intensive English programmes for migrants and short business courses.

The polytechnic and Grow Mid Canterbury, are leading a wider project group, brought together by Grow Mid Canterbury to drive further development within the primary industry. They are also working with Mid-Canterbury secondary schools to provide an educational staircase into agricultural careers, trades and business careers and further study.

A new cadetship programme offering pathways into the agricultural industry was also being developed. This programme taught basic farming skills and would see students graduate and become work-ready employees.


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