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Micro-credentials to target biosecurity

Wednesday August 1, 2018

The Primary ITO is welcoming the introduction of micro-credentials, new stand-alone courses, which will help it respond to pressing industry demands, including the eradication of the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis.

Today, Education Minister Chis Hipkins announced that the Government is introducing a micro-credential system as part of New Zealand’s regulated education and training system.

Primary ITO CEO Linda Sissons attended the initiatives launch. She says the bite-sized courses will give people working in the primary sector the flexibility to pick up the skills and knowledge they need, as they need them, and upskill around seasonal and issues-based demands.

“The Primary ITO is ready to go. We have been developing and piloting 14 different micro-credential courses in partnership with DairyNZ, the Horticultural Capability Group and Otago Polytechnic. We lead the professional development of people in the primary sector and these time-efficient courses will help us prepare for and quickly respond to their demands, including for proactive responses to pressing biosecurity threats,” says Dr Sissons.

“Unwanted pests and diseases create animal welfare and productivity issues. These inflict significant damage to our industry and to New Zealand’s wider environment, economy and international reputation. Currently there is no dedicated suite of qualifications which provide vocational biosecurity skills to New Zealand’s primary sector and we are urgently working with our industry and NZQA to change this,” says Dr Sissons.

“New Zealand is the world’s top dairy exporter and diseases like Mycoplasma Bovis devastate our farmers livelihoods. There is strong demand from the sector to improve biosecurity measures and they will be keen to embrace this unique new learning opportunity,” says Gordon Findlay, Primary ITO’s National Group Manager Dairy.

The Primary ITO is also working with the horticulture industry to develop practical on-the-job courses that help orchards and farms respond to and prevent biosecurity threats, such as the myrtle rust.

“Farming, fishing and horticulture form the backbone of the New Zealand’s economy and we must ensure our people remain at the cutting edge of producing sustainable, low carbon and trusted food for the world. We are looking forward to engaging with the sector and developing the bite-sized courses it needs,” says Dr Sissons.


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