Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Agriculture programmes are creating better futures for students by giving them the skills they need to get ahead.
Agriculture Tutor Bryan Harris says the programmes cover all the skills you need to get started as a farm assistant and work your way up – animal handling, machinery maintenance, tractor driving, fencing, spraying, weed work, and many more farming basics.
“Everything we teach our students is giving them skills that are going to be useful in their careers and in their everyday lives – even if they don’t decide to work on a farm.
“Many get jobs on farms and others go on to contracting, whether it be fencing, driving or chainsaw work. We’ve covered all the basics they’ll need to create opportunities for themselves.”
The Agriculture programmes are run from a farm in Reefton, giving students real-world experience on life on the land. Bryan says students often come in shy and apprehensive, but leave with more confidence.
“It’s hugely rewarding to watch these students learn more than just farm skills. Some of them haven’t had a lot of opportunity in the past, and we can give them more than just a career. Working with animals, in particular, can be a game-changer for some of our students. We’re not just opening doors to careers, we’re opening their minds to a better future.”
Bryan says a life living and working off the sea and on the land has given him skills that he often takes for granted, so there’s a real reward in passing on that knowledge to others.
“Whether they decide to work as a farm assistant, or choose another pathway, we’re helping set them up for a better future, providing for themselves and their families,” he says.