When Stacey Krivan studied music, it didn’t take long to rack up a significant student loan.
So years later, when his employer at Ōhau Wines asked if he was keen to study viticulture through Primary ITO while continuing to work full time, Stacey jumped at the opportunity.
“Knowing the student loan debt was there was so annoying. So I didn’t want to ever go down that road of getting into more debt while I studied. So the chance to earn while I learn was perfect for me.”
Several of Stacey’s colleagues enrolled with Primary ITO at the same time, and together they have worked their way through multiple papers that are relevant to their daily jobs such as pests and diseases, soil health and farm safe practices.
The 28 year-old appreciates the programme’s flexibility and the fact it can be tailored to suit what’s happening in the workplace at any point in time.
“When it’s pruning season, we tackle pruning papers for example. It’s good to match study to our work tasks. Everything’s fresh in your mind and we can apply what we’re reading and learning about to the job at hand.”
Stacey first joined Ōhau Wines as a casual worker picking grapes during the 2014 harvest but he quickly secured full time work. He now manages the spray programme across the 40ha vineyard and is in charge of ordering chemicals and maintaining an accurate spray diary. “That’s really important come harvest time so we can export our wines without any issues and meet our minimum residue limits.”
Stacey particularly enjoys Ōhau’s team environment and working outdoors. There’s a variety of jobs to tackle throughout the year which keeps things interesting, he says.
“You put a lot of hard work in throughout the season so it’s very rewarding to see the grapes ripen and then come back to you in a bottle at the end.”
As a young father, he admits finding the time to study is a big challenge. “But I just try and chip away at it. That’s what gets you through – that consistency.”
Over the past two years he has completed Level 3 papers and is now looking forward to tackling Level 4 so he can one day move into a managerial role or run his own vineyard or orchard.
Stacey receives great support from Primary ITO’s training advisor, Darin, and says he would recommend on-the-job study to anyone who wants to get ahead.
“You can see you’re achieving and getting somewhere which is great. If you’re in my position where you don’t want to get a student loan but you do want some qualifications, then it’s an absolute no brainer to study with Primary ITO while you work.”