Women in agri train­ing

Waikato News - - Front Page -

It ap­pears the cur­rent dairy down­turn is not de­ter­ring young Waikato women from agriculture train­ing.

In fact, if en­rol­ments at Waikato-based pri­vate train­ing provider TrainMe are any­thing to go by, young women are lin­ing up in record num­bers.

An­gel Ryan (17), Chance Tain­gahue (19) and and Brenda Pairama (17) are among nine 16 to 19-year-old women about to com­plete TrainMe’s Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate in Agriculture Level 2 course this month.

Re­mark­ably, this is a record num­ber of fe­male en­rol­ments since the free 18-week course, in­tended for teenagers dis­en­gaged with the school­ing sys­tem, was in­tro­duced al­most three years ago.

“In our cur­rent class, more than half are fe­male. We have nine fe­males to eight males,” TrainMe trades school man­ager Lance Lan­g­ley said.

“In the past, across the four other semesters the course has been run­ning, only about 35 per cent of en­rolled stu­dents have been fe­male,” he said.

Lan­g­ley said that the in­crease demon­strates a will­ing­ness to work hard in a tough cli­mate.

“We recog­nise that the ru­ral sec­tor doesn’t have it easy at the mo­ment. The in­creas­ing num­ber of en­rolled fe­males is heart­en­ing. These women are hard-work­ers and have just as much to con­trib­ute to the farm­ing in­dus­try as men.”

Chance is keen on a ca­reer in farm­ing once the course is done.

“Many of us came into this course af­ter com­plet­ing TrainMe’s #Ul­ti­mate, which gave us a taste of lots of short cour­ses all at once.

“Be­fore that, I wasn’t in­ter­ested in farm­ing at all. I didn’t know what it was like. Many of us just wanted to com­plete NCEA.

“But since choos­ing the farm­ing course, we’ve learnt to drive a trac­tor, quad bikes, and use chain­saws. We’ve vol­un­teered on about five dif­fer­ent farms. Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety & Health (OSH) prac­tices and First Aid are also part of our train­ing.

“I’d as­sumed farm­ing was bor­ing. And now I’d love to work on a farm in the fu­ture,” Chance said.

Ac­cord­ing to An­gel the ris­ing fe­male en­rol­ments show that “farm­ing isn’t just for guys”.

“We’re putting fences up, pulling out ponga trees, we put in as much ef­fort as the guys. We learn from them and they learn from us,” she said.

Lance said it’s great to see once-dis­en­gaged stu­dents, both male and fe­male, ‘find their place’ on the farm.

“There’s no doubt the farm­ing en­vi­ron­ment is hard work, but it’s given these teenager’s, both male and fe­male, a pur­pose, and en­abled their con­fi­dence to soar.

“These are stu­dents who ar­rive with­out NCEA Level 1, typ­i­cally dis­like school, and for some, the prospect of fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion was once very bleak. They com­plete our #Ul­ti­mate course fol­lowed by the Agriculture pro­gramme and in one year can come out with three ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tions and gain NCEA Lev­els 1 and 2.”

“The learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment is si­mul­ta­ne­ously fun, ed­u­ca­tional and ca­reer-fo­cussed. Those who com­plete the course can go on to fur­ther study, or we help ar­range em­ploy­ment for them on a farm,” he said.

The dairy down­turn hasn’t de­terred these Waikato women from agriculture train­ing at TrainMe.

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