Increased interest from city-based companies in what happens on farms and rural properties has prompted agricultural trainer Taratahi to introduce a series of new courses.
Communications advisor Tina Nixon says the courses target businesses such as insurance companies who have rural clients.
“The courses can give their staff a better understanding of rural and farm life,” she says. “Staff from organisations such as Worksafe are the ones who are administering the Workplace Health & Safety Act so it’s good for them to understand the practical realities of farm operations.
“The courses can vary from one to three days, depending on the needs of the group. A lot of city-based people don’t normally get an opportunity to see how a working farm operates so the courses bridge that gap.”
Tina says that with the agricultural industry facing a skills shortage, the demand for rural courses is greater than ever.
Taratahi says New Zealand needs 1100 new workers each year to meet the needs of the sector. Currently, 95 per cent of its students who undertake a two year, full-time, NZQA-approved qualification are employed when they graduate.
Taratahi’s fee-free courses include a NZ Certificate in Foundation Skills Level 1 and NZ Certificate in Primary Industry Skills Level 2, as well as a range of other courses covering agriculture vehicles, machinery and infrastructure; dairy farming and equipment; farming systems; livestock husbandry; crossbred wool handling; apiculture; and equine skills.
The organisation also offers the L5 Massey University Diploma in Agriculture and the NZ Diploma in Agribusiness, and runs the Central North Island Dairy Academy at Reporoa, which opened last year.
Tina says the courses appeal to a wide range of students.
“Some older students are looking for second chance careers and an increasing number of applications are coming from urban students looking for rural career options.”
Taratahi also offer a range of user pays courses in quad bike safety, chainsaw safety, pasture management and animal husbandry.