Primary ITO and Pāmu collaborate on new apprenticeship scheme

10 July 2024

Nine new entrants will embark on an exciting career in the agriculture industry with the opportunity to gain Primary ITO qualifications as part of a Pāmu Apprenticeship Scheme kicking off in January 2025.

The scheme aims to attract new entrants into the agriculture industry, offering employment and the chance to gain formal qualifications and life skills, alongside a cohort of others in a supportive environment.

Learners will live together in shared housing at Aratiatia Station near Taupō, where they will be supported by newly appointed Pāmu Apprenticeship Scheme Manager, Gary Brady, and the farm manager and staff on each of the placement farms. Gary joins the Pāmu team from Primary ITO, where he worked with schools and students as a Trades Academy Tutor.

Year one of the scheme will provide the learners with foundation skills, knowledge, and practical experience of dairy and livestock farming, while working across several Pāmu farms. The learners will be enrolled into the NZ Certificate in Agriculture – Meat & Fibre Level 3 programme, with the guidance of a Primary ITO Training Adviser. One-on-one support and transition to work skills will be a key component of the first year, including budgeting, food shopping, time management and ways to manage wellbeing.

Photo credit: Pāmu

Year two of the scheme will enable the learners to specialise in dairy, or sheep/beef/deer farming, with the opportunity to live and work on farm. There, they will progress through their level 3 qualification and start on level 4, all while receiving ongoing support from Pāmu and Primary ITO.

Mel Sheppard, Sector Manager at Primary ITO, has worked alongside Pāmu to provide advice and guidance on setting the learners up for success. Mel says the scheme is a fantastic way to connect new entrants into a career in the agriculture industry, with wraparound support.

“There is a challenge to help young people on the pathway from school into work, with many today not ready to go straight into work. An apprenticeship programme like this provides a secure and safe pathway to support new entrants to succeed, and parents have a way of keeping in touch with the programme manager to ensure their young person is being looked after.

“The scheme also creates a pipeline of staff into Pāmu.”

A Primary ITO Training Adviser will work closely alongside the Pāmu Apprenticeship Scheme Manager to enrol the learners into the training programme, make regular site visits, and ensure the learners are on track and being supported to succeed. Mel will also help to oversee the programme with Pāmu and provide guidance as required.

“While there are some farm cadet schemes in place around the country, there is a definite need for more of these opportunities that focus on the needs of young people and that supports their managers and employers,” she says.

“Going straight into employment is great for building a school leaver’s confidence that they are a valued young person – something many struggle with. Add in the encouragement and support for the apprentices to undertake formal training in not just farming skills, but also their health and wellbeing; it’s a winning recipe for both employee and employer.”

Photo credit: Pāmu

Applications for the Pāmu Apprenticeship Scheme open in July 2024 for one month. The recruitment process will kick off in August and offers will go out to learners in September. The scheme is being promoted to schools and the wider sector in the North Island, and through various communication channels.

Find full information on the Pāmu website.