Primary ITO and Wintec will significantly alter the structure of the popular Diploma in Agribusiness Management for Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki students next year to help more dairy farmers continue to study during their busiest times of year.
The Diploma, which is offered in the central North Island through Wintec, will be broken into eight smaller modules instead of the traditional four, giving farmers and other agribusiness owners and managers more flexibility to tackle smaller chunks of learning.
Primary ITO’s Diploma Programme Leader Rebecca Drummond says the full qualification normally takes 2.5 years to finish if students complete one module per semester. “That can be a big commitment for people who are already working fulltime, generally running their own business and often raising a family,” she acknowledges.
“The course content will remain the same but now the larger modules will be split into smaller pieces of learning making them easier to manage.”
From 2019, Wintec will deliver these smaller modules in a new three semester structure, with courses available between February and mid-May; mid-May to early July; and late September until mid-December. Previously people have only been able to start a course in February or late September. “This will be particularly useful for dairy farmers who calve in the autumn, but also for sheep and beef farmers and horticulture owners who are busy during the early part of the year. It will also allow other farmers to pick up a smaller module in the winter while their cows are dry.”
Farmers can choose to study the entire Diploma or just enrol for specific papers when it suits them. “There may be a young contract milker who’s just starting out in their business and doesn’t have a good grasp of GST or PAYE. So these smaller modules will make it easy to access specific topics of information.”
“This new course structure will also be helpful for those farmers who may be moving properties at the end of the season (1 June). By enrolling for one paper at a time they’re not over-committing themselves.”
Drummond says the Diploma in Agribusiness Management (Level 5) is designed to help people acquire all the skills they need to run a successful agribusiness. Under the new structure, students will be able to enrol in papers covering business planning, business risk management, financial planning, investment & tax, resource management & sustainability, employment planning, and work allocation, health & safety.
“The Diploma helps people take control of their agribusiness by teaching them all the essential skills they need to be successful. It’s in-depth, applied study that is focussed on their actual business so there’s huge benefits to be gained.”
The new three semester structure is unique to Wintec at this stage, but Primary ITO’s other Diploma providers around New Zealand will be watching with interest to see if the shorter modules boost enrolment numbers.
“Nothing comes without hard work, but we certainly think this new delivery model will appeal to a lot of farmers,” Drummond says.
“The idea of going back into a classroom is daunting for some people, but it’s more of an interactive group session and they learn so much from each other. It’s not a ‘chalk and talk’ scenario.”
Each new module will be offered across a rolling two-year schedule at a various of Wintec locations including Morrinsville, Te Awamutu, Rotorua, Whakatane and Stratford.
Farmer or growers waiting more information about the Diploma in Agribusiness Management can visit www.primaryitodiploma.co.nz.