Southern Institute of Technology to take over Telford

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has agreed to a proposal from the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to take over the Telford campus of the Taratahi Agricultural Centre.

The Government will invest $1.8 million in SIT to deliver primary industries training programmes both at Telford and through distance learning. SIT is aiming to teach around 200 primary industry students in 2019 at the Telford campus and across New Zealand.

“This is a great outcome for Telford students who want to continue their studies and complete their qualifications, and for those students who were looking forward to starting at Telford this year. It’s also keeps investment and jobs in the local community,” Chris Hipkins said.

The majority of Telford staff – around 20 equivalent fulltime staff – will be employed by SIT, with their existing rights and benefits maintained.

The Government will be working over coming months to reform vocational education and training so it meets New Zealand’s future needs.

It will continue to invest at the Telford site while longer-term change is considered. There is no similar proposal for Taratahi at this stage.

The agreement with SIT is for 12 months. On top of the $1.8 million, SIT will receive further Crown support for expenses if operations cease at Telford at the end of 2019.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the Southern Institute of Technology’s takeover of the Telford campus of Taratahi is a great move and will deliver the certainty needed for their students and staff.

“This is the first successful step in a complete revamp of agricultural education to support the primary sectors into the future,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Today shows that working together is the quickest route to fixing the deep-seated problems within primary sector education to ensure we have a sustainable model for the future.”

Primary sector leaders acknowledged agricultural education had been broken for a long time. It was heartening to work with them, education providers and Education Minister Hipkins to fix it and ensure responsive and sustainable education even in times of high employment, Mr O’Connor said.

Source: Ministers of Education and Agriculture

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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