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Primary ITO: Knowledge to grow

News & Features

Exciting changes for Primary ITO Dairy Programmes

24 January 2020

Primary ITO is announcing some exciting changes in 2020 with the splitting our New Zealand Certificates in Agriculture (both Levels 3 and 4) into “modules”. Each of the modules making up a certificate will be able to be completed within a year.

This is being done to better fit the seasonal learning approach that works for employers. Many employers have told us they want smaller blocks of “just-in-time” learning, that enable employees to learn skills and apply them immediately.

National Group Manager – Agriculture at Primary ITO, Gordon Findlay, says it forms part of a wider review of how we deliver fit-for-purpose solutions based on industry feedback and includes other work to digitise learning and assessment, which should be available later in 2020.  It also links to our new delivery partnership with QCONZ which will help provide a consistent off-job learning experience for our customers.

“Our industry has asked for shorter blocks of just-in-time, seasonal learning and a more consistent national experience for trainees and this represents the first exciting step in that direction”.

Another reason for this change is to comply with government funding rules for training work visa holders. Under these rules, work visa holders can only enrol in programmes that can be completed within the term of their existing visas. As an example, an employee on a one-year work visa should not enrol into a multi-year certificate or apprenticeship.

Creating the new modular structure will address this. Employees will be able to enrol sequentially in each module and achieve the certificate at the end.

Below are examples of how the modular programmes will work:


It is important to note that many pre-organised classes for 2020 will still be able to commence. However, some new classes for trainees in these programmes will not start this year until our new modular qualification structure is in place, along with the new resources to support them.  We anticipate this being during March.