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Primary ITO: Knowledge to grow

News & Features

Annual Report 2018: Innovation and consolidation highlights for Primary ITO

20 May 2019

Primary ITO is positioned well for any future reforms of vocational education, Board Chair Mark Darrow and Chief Executive Linda Sissons said today, releasing the organisation’s annual report for 2018.

A large number of up-to-the-minute new qualifications and strong sector relationships are highlights of Primary ITO’s 2018 performance, says Dr Sissons.

“Primary ITO works with over 5000 employers and approximately 22,000 trainees. Part of what we achieved in 2018 was to lift the overall level of qualifications. More trainees are now learning at level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

“This is important because we know that the future for the primary industries can’t be driven by scale. We know it will come from value and innovation and that means the industries need smart, innovative people.

“It’s key to focus on the skills these people need and that’s why as well as full training programmes, we’re investing in micro-credentials, with bite-sized courses to meet specific job skill needs. For example, our biosecurity micro-credential is responding to an urgent industry need.”

The primary sector is the largest contributor to the New Zealand economy but has the potential to contribute much more value-added growth by upskilling the sector’s 350,000-strong workforce.

During 2018, Primary ITO developed 12 full new programmes of study as well as seven micro-credentials. All were in response to industry need and developed in partnership with employer groups.

Mr Darrow says changes finalised in 2018 have set Primary ITO up to help train the estimated 50,000 extra workers needed in the primary industries by 2025.

“We have aligned our operations to industries, in groups covering the dairy, meat and fibre, horticulture, seafood, and primary services industries.

“Across New Zealand, that has meant that we can offer genuine sector expertise and a geographic coverage that reflects the numerical strength of the sector. A strength of industry training is that it can be delivered in the workplace and our team of training advisers are out in those farms, orchards, plant nurseries and packhouses making sure they have the tools they need to succeed.”

Primary ITO is holding its annual general meeting on 29 May where Mike Chapman and Carla Muller are expected to be confirmed as new directors for the Primary ITO board, joining six current directors.

The annual report is available for download here.

For more information please contact Colin Marshall, Primary ITO Communications Manager, on or 04 382 2859.