Agribusi­ness a hit in se­condary schools

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - GARY FAR­ROW

St Paul’s Col­le­giate in Hamil­ton has pi­o­neered a new se­condary school qual­i­fi­ca­tion in agribusi­ness, which hun­dreds of stu­dents around the coun­try are now sit­ting.

The school has been recog­nised by be­ing made a fi­nal­ist at the 2018 Prime Min­is­ter’s Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­cel­lence Awards, in the Ex­cel­lence in Lead­ing/Atakura cat­e­gory.

Deputy head­mas­ter Peter Hamp­ton said the course can be sat at NCEA Level 2 and 3, and can grant stu­dents univer­sity en­trance to study agribusi­ness.

‘‘What we did was we got the sup­port of 11 busi­ness part­ners from the agribusi­ness sec­tor,’’ Hamp­ton said. ‘‘Their fi­nan­cial sup­port en­abled us to take the lead in de­vel­op­ing the new cur­ricu­lum.’’

A to­tal of 10 other schools around the coun­try joined what St Paul’s called its agribusi­ness com­mu­nity of learn­ing.

They helped trial and tune the new cur­ricu­lum so it could be taken to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and New Zealand Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Author­ity for ap­proval. That process took four and a half years all up, but Hamp­ton is excited at what the agribusi­ness pro­gramme is pro­vid­ing to stu­dents now that the course is in place.

‘‘The rea­son we’re do­ing it is there’s 45,000 jobs out there in New Zealand in the next 10 years for stu­dents who’ve got de­grees in agribusi­ness,’’ Hamp­ton said.

NCEA agribusi­ness en­tails a com­bi­na­tion of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, hor­ti­cul­ture and busi­ness, mean­ing it does not lead to the low-skilled jobs on farms that some peo­ple tend to as­so­ci­ate with agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture.

Hamp­ton wanted to dis­pel that myth in the na­tion­wide pro­mo­tion of the course. ‘‘What we’re do­ing is a new course in agribusi­ness which is de­signed for re­ally bright, ca­pa­ble, aca­demic stu­dents who will go on to univer­sity,’’ he said.

A to­tal of 39 new Zealand schools were teach­ing agribusi­ness, in­clud­ing St Peter’s Col­lege in Cam­bridge while Cam­bridge High School would make the course avail­able for its stu­dents next year. Stu­dents of the course can spe­cialise in forestry, fish­eries, equine, turf cul­ture, agri­cul­ture or hor­ti­cul­ture.

Agribusi­ness sec­tor is af­ter grad­u­ates the length and breadth of the coun­try, says St Paul’s Col­le­giate Hamil­ton deputy head­mas­ter Peter Hamp­ton.

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