SIT offers forestry, agriculture courses

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PEOPLE seeking employment will have the opportunity to train in agriculture with new short courses being introduced.

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), along with its agricultural faculty Telford, have collaborated with agricultural and forestry industry groups to provide education to allow people who may have lost their jobs to quickly retrain for new positions.

SIT would run Agricultural Redeployment Expos in Queenstown on Wednesday, June 10, and Te Anau on Thursday, June 11, with the aim to assist job seekers, especially from Queenstown Lakes District and the wider Southland area, to access employment in the agricultural sector.

With skilled driver shortages looming for agricultural contractors and significant job losses in hospitality, tourism and retail, SIT saw the need to support newly redundant workers into both sectors with six-week training courses run in conjunction with industry.

The expos would highlight opportunities in the fields and what training would be involved.

Contractors would bring machinery to the expos for people to get a taste of what it was like on the job.

SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds said there were employment opportunities to be found.

“The Ag Redeployment Expo is a collaborative effort by SIT/Telford, Rural Contractors NZ, the Southern Rural Workforce Action Group, and Competenz to name a few.

“We envision the event will bring fresh ideas to those communities who’ve been reliant on tourism for many years and now need to look to a different sector to provide employment opportunities.

“Covid-19 has meant a new focus on our important primary sector industries and the career opportunities in them, and it’s our job to provide accurate information about retraining and help people make that transition into new employment opportunities through upskilling, she said.

The expos would offer details of the Agricultural Contractor Training programme which will be delivered through Telford from mid-June. It would also provide a chance for people to meet contractors, see and discuss some of the work involved, see machinery used in rural contracting, have a go on the tractor and forestry simulators and register interest in training.

This six-week training programme will have intakes starting in June, July and August. The training would be split into three sections; two weeks at the Telford campus to develop an understanding of an agricultural contractor’s job, two weeks in Invercargill for driver training and the final two weeks in work placement.

SIT had applied for funding to make training available free of tuition, accommodation and travel costs.

Registrations for the expo are essential to comply with the Alert Level 2 restrictions of 100 people per session.

The expos would be held recognising all Alert Level 2 restrictions, including: a 100-person limit at each public session, social distancing, hand sanitising stations and appropriate cleaning measures between each session.

SIT and Telford staff as well as contractors will be on hand to answer questions and assist in enrolling. To register interest phone 0800 4 0 FEES (0800 4 0 3337) or email info@sit.ac.nz

Queenstown: Wednesday, June 10

Open to public: 9am-10.30am and 2pm-3.30pm

Venue: Rydges Hotel, Lake Esplanade, Queenstown

Te Anau: Thursday, June 11

Open to public: 9am-10.30am and 2pm-3.30pm

Venue: Fiordland Events Centre, Luxmore Dr, Te Anau

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