Boost to agri-education with reopening of Taratahi

The Government’s commitment to increase primary sector jobs and opportunities has been further boosted today with the re-opening of the Taratahi Agriculture Centre, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The Wairarapa-based training centre is reopening its doors after two years to deliver industry taster and familiarisation courses, to help workers displaced from other sectors into primary sector roles and lives.

The Government is injecting $1.2 million into the programme to train 1,000 people, including providing wrap around job placement support.

“Taratahi’s liquidation left a large gap in agricultural education in this country. A lot of hours have been put in by a lot of people to get us to where we are today. I’m absolutely thrilled,” Damien O’Connor said.

“There are significant employment opportunities in our primary industries and we are committed to helping to train people to have the skills they need for the opportunities in front of us. Our agricultural training institutions have never had a more important role to play.

“Some sectors have been heavily affected by the closure of our borders, and because of this, we’re working to transition Kiwis without work into primary sector jobs. This also helps farmers and growers cope with the reduction in migrant workers and helps ensure the sector continues to play a vital role in rebuilding our economy,” he said.

These training opportunities are part of the Government’s programme aimed at placing 10,000 New Zealanders in primary sector jobs by rapidly retraining and absorbing displaced workers in sectors impacted by Covid.  Another aspect is the website and marketing campaign – Opportunity Grows Here – that was launched this week to raise awareness of the career opportunities available in the food and fibre sector.

Damien O’Connor said Telford Farm in Balclutha had shown the way, co-designing courses with industry that got a big uptake.

“The courses at Taratahi are modelled on those already being successfully delivered at Telford, which has received nearly $950,000 to fund 620 training spots. Their rural contractors’ course is almost completely full through to the end of the year and their taster courses have seen similar levels of interest.

“It’s great that we have been able to tap into the potential of Taratahi, get the doors back open and provide opportunities for those looking for fresh starts.”

Taratahi went into voluntary liquidation in December 2018, with a permanent liquidator appointed in February 2019. Since that time, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Tertiary Education Commission have been working closely with the High Court-appointed liquidators to find a long-term future for Taratahi.

The funding for re-establishment follows the approval of a lease between the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), through its subsidiaries, Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) and Universal College of Learning (UCOL), and Taratahi’s liquidators.

Source:  Minister of Agriculture

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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