7 Apr 2016

New Hamilton learning centre for agri-business students

3:20 pm on 7 April 2016

A learning centre has just been opened at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton which will be used to teach the new agri-business achievement standards.

St Paul's is one of eight schools working with the Ministry of Education, Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand to trial the new standards for senior students.

Deputy headmaster Peter Hampton said the $1.8 million centre is a response to the government's ambition of doubling primary sector exports by 2025.

Mr Hampton said to achieve that aspiration it has estimated New Zealand will need another 25,000 graduates with agri-business degrees.

"There's currently no programme in New Zealand secondary schools that target bright tertiary capable students and directs them into our agribusiness universities. So this programme we're developing with the Ministry targets students in years 12 and 13 who are strong in sciences and or commerce subjects, brings them together, and them helps them through into the Myriad of career opportunities that are beyond.

"The first achievement standards will be trialled next year later this year and next year by a select group of eight schools across New Zealand. The intention if that goes through is that they'll be available to all schools by 2018.

"If you can think of it in terms of introducing physics or economics to the curriculum, we see it as significant for New Zealand's future as that."

Mr Hampton said the new agri-business standards would take secondary school education beyond the farm gate by attracting students who were strong in economics and accounting, as well as chemistry and biology.