Thirty-five pupils from Invercargill to Auckland converged on Telford as part of a four-day taster allowed them to sample what was on offer at the agricultural training institution.
For many of the year 12 and above pupils, the programme held last week was a rare chance to see if they liked what was on offer and to develop an educational pathway for an agricultural career.
The is an experiential way to encourage pupils looking for practical pathways to their future careers.
Subjects covered by the programme were related to the agriculture, equine and rural vet technician courses run by Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) at Telford.
After being picked up from Dunedin Airport the part in orientation and team-building exercises before the sampler sessions began in earnest on the Wednesday morning, with health and safety, repairing water troughs, fencing and study options.
The second full day of the course covered LUV handling of the rural facilities at Telford, dairy operations, rural vet and equine instruction and the handling a welding simulator brought up by tutors from SIT’s engineering department.
Day four had more hands-on activities, including electric fencing management and a review of their possible study options.
The secondary schools co-ordinator at Telford Andrew Thompson said most who came to the programme were very serious about their careers in rural industries.
“They come to sample what we have on offer here, talk to the tutors, discuss course content, and because they stay on-site, they get to experience the hostel life we offer here, too.
“It all helps them to make a clearer decision about coming to study at Telford.”
He said that by 2025 the industry would need 50,000 more confident and qualified workers with a formal education and professional skills, such as business management, technology and science skills.
“The industry needs them and that’s what we are offering here at Telford,” he said.