Trades Academy strengthened for former Taratahi students

4 February 2019

Primary ITO is doubling the size of its Trades Academy catering for school students looking for a pathway into a primary industries career, providing an option for schools and students previously working with Taratahi.

Primary ITO (industry training organisation) chief executive Linda Sissons says the ITO has also found places with other training providers for all of the ITO’s trainees who had been learning through Taratahi.

“We know it has been a very challenging time for former staff and students of Taratahi and we’re pleased that we have found ways to ensure that the trainees doing our qualifications can continue with them.

“The Trades Academy is also a valuable way for school students to achieve NCEA credits, and work towards a National Certificate in Agriculture or Horticulture while staying in the school system.”

Primary ITO already had approximately 500 students in its Trades Academy, which blends classroom study with on-the job learning, and with Taratahi’s students this number will nearly double.

“The Trades Academy works well with tutors with industry experience taking students from school for field trips and industry placements. Students can spend time on orchards, farms and gardens as well as in workplaces in the wider primary sector like freezing works, rural services stores, arborists and others,” says Dr Sissons.

“Our industries want smart, innovative and motivated young people looking for a great career and the Trades Academy helps both them and businesses get a head start on that path.”

Dr Sissons says it’s disappointing that Taratahi is no longer available to provide training but the education, government and primary sectors need to work together to ensure vocational training is strengthened.

“Anecdotally, we’re hearing that some students who had planned on going into Taratahi’s fulltime programmes have instead moved into employment and are now looking at training on-the-job. We think that this earn-while-you-learn model is the best way to develop vocational skills.”

Primary ITO facilitates the training of approximately 28,000 trainees and apprentices across agriculture, horticulture and processing industries. Dr Sissons says international and New Zealand research backs workplace training as an efficient and effective way to learn the skills needed.

Primary ITO is also making progress on micro-credentials, which give an NZQA-recognised short qualification for essential work-skills like biosecurity or introductory shearing.


About Primary ITO


The Primary Industry Training Organisation is charged with leading the training of people in our largest export sector. The future of farming, fishing, horticulture and processing will be driven by innovation – not just scale. Our job is to lead training, accelerate the pace of innovation, improve farming, fishing and horticulture practices, and deliver more profitable growth. We have 28,000 people in training.

The sector is growing, our need for skilled workers has never been higher. To succeed, people in our primary sector must reflect the impeccable standards of food safety, produced with low carbon sustainable production practices, and the highest standards of animal and fish welfare that both society and the world expect of us.