With a growing demand for skilled workers in the primary industries, the St Paul’s Foundation teamed up with Dairy NZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and ten business partners from within the agriculture sector, to create New Zealand’s first Agribusiness curriculum for secondary school students.
The Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Science and Business is a two-year agribusiness programme that has been designed to expose and inspire tertiary capable students, in Years 12 and 13, to the wide range of skills required and opportunities available in pastoral agriculture. Agribusiness is currently being taught as a subject choice to St Paul’s students.
For the past few years, St Paul’s has been working with agricultural industry experts and tertiary institutes to develop a programme that suits the industry needs and delivers on the shortfalls of the current educational climate. There is still a long road ahead but significant progress has been made and a nationwide roll out of the curriculum is on the horizon. Recent milestones include:
- Draft programme developed
- Draft curriculum tested with St Paul’s students
- Seven 'lead schools' on-board to trial the curriculum in 2017 and roll out in their regions in 2018
- Principal and business partners have committed to funding and the development of the curriculum to ensure it is made available to all secondary schools throughout New Zealand.
Students will come into the programme from either strong Science and/or Commerce backgrounds and will continue with their complementary NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 subjects accordingly. Students involved in the programme will:
- learn about plant science, soil science, primary industries, digital technology, managing risks in agri-business, agri-marketing, food science, microbiology, new technologies, agri-business accounting, operating structures in agri-business and others
- be encouraged to sit NZQA Scholarship Agricultural Horticultural Science
- have the opportunity to gain complementary NCEA credits from a number of selected achievement standards within the Agribusiness courses.
The programme has a focus on experiential learning which includes industry visits and field trips.