New courses at Taratahi will be delivered by the Eastern Institute of Technology [EIT] and UCOL. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Farming job opportunities aplenty

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Details about new courses which will be offered at the former Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre campus have been slow to come but are finally emerging, with a potential July start date and education provider announced.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said new courses at Taratahi would be delivered by the Eastern Institute of Technology and UCOL and said these had been developed in partnership with the Telford/Southern Institute of Technology and industry.

“I visited Taratahi a few weeks ago and Telford just last week. I see both institutions as potentially huge assets for New Zealand farming,” he said.

While there wasn’t a “firm timetable” for Taratahi yet, he hoped courses could start by early July.

“We are working as fast as possible. There is great enthusiasm from Wairarapa to get it up and running.

“In the short-term, the urgent need for the dairy industry, for the livestock sector, for horticulture and viticulture, means Taratahi facilities should be utilised as quickly as we can get them running.”

Part of the delay related to technical issues and questions of ownership with the liquidator, though they had agreed the facilities could be used and courses could get started in the interim.

The Times-Age understands the courses on offer will be shorter and primarily geared towards the dairy industry and those new to farming.

Previous short courses offered at Taratahi included fencing, shearing and wool handling, electric welding, chainsaw operation, and all-terrain vehicle handling and safety training, while longer courses related to dairying or sheep and beef farming.

O’Connor said negotiations for longer term Tertiary Education Commission-funded education would continue in parallel, while the Ministry for Primary Industries worked with providers and industry to address immediate needs brought about by the covid-19 pandemic.

“There are real job opportunities in farming today,” he said.

“Post-covid-19, we need to redeploy people from those sectors with big job losses across to agriculture, and both Taratahi and Telford are well placed to help drive that forward.

“There are some opportunities which arise from [covid-19].

“The chance to get Taratahi running is one of those outcomes.”

Another example he pointed to was the recently announced funding of $1.6 billion for the Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package.

This included $19.3 million to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs and two years’ free study.