The substantially sized tractors proved a hit with both young and old. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

From tractors to demonstrations and barking dogs, the Ag Expo at Ucol’s Masterton campus proved a popular way for some to close the school holidays over the weekend.

Earlier this month, Ucol Wairarapa and the Eastern Institute of Technology announced they were partnering to offer “career week” taster courses to introduce people to the primary industries.

Ucol Wairarapa operations manager Steve Griffin said he was pleased with the turnout and level of interest shown.

“There was steady local interest all day and a few folk from outside of the region,” he said.

A big part of the draw was the six or so tractors and heavy farm machinery provided by Andrew Tulloch Contracting.

The machinery proved especially popular with many of the younger families visiting, as did Jed the huntaway who could bark on command, Griffin said.

“There were a few families who came through just to see the kit.”

There was also a strong mix of people who had always been interested in the primary sector, as well as people looking for new lines of work after job losses due to covid-19.

“There was a mix of people interested in a career on the land but also definitely people who had been impacted by covid-19.

“It was a good turnout and will help things moving forward.”

He said the announcement of the short courses, which will be offered at the former Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre campus, was part of the government and education sector’s rapid response to massive skills shortages in the primary sector.

A second North Island ag expo was planned for a later date.

  • Registrations of interest for the Ucol/EIT “career weeks” can be made by emailing enquiry@ucol.ac.nz or by phoning 0800 GO UCOL 0800 468 265.
  • The courses will run through to mid-December this year.