The new Food Processing and Manufacturing Business Connection Group in Timaru has helped to create a food processing programme at Ara Institute of Canterbury, which will commence at the start of next year.
Aoraki Development set up the group, which represents a sector that employs approximately 5000 of Timaru District’s 25,000 workforce.
“These businesses told us that they want to get more youth involved in their businesses, so we sat down with the local businesses and Ara. Ara then designed this focussed course which provides the key skills and knowledge that the industry are looking for,” Aoraki Development chief executive Nigel Davenport said.
“It’s hugely important that we have a collaborative approach between business and education so we are providing clear pathways into local business and industry for our youth. The establishment of this course is a prime example of this,” he said.
The Introduction to the Food Processing Industry programme offered by Ara will be run as a dual pathways programme where students spend four days each week at school completing their NCEA studies and one day per week attending Ara completing the Level 2 course.
Ara is also piloting food processing Industry Sector Days. On Thursday 10 August 36 careers advisors and teachers visited local businesses and on Thursday 24 August, it will be the turn of over 90 secondary school students. This is an opportunity to tour organisations’ premises and find out more about the career opportunities available. Participating business include Fonterra, McCain, DB, Talley’s and Sanford.
The new programme runs for a full year and will give students the opportunity to learn core skills needed to enter the food processing industry. Enrolments are now open with the course set to start in February 2018.
Davenport said that the programme will include work experience which will help students explore the wide variety of opportunities within the sector and how they can progress through study and career pathways.
Ara and Aoraki Development are working together to support the region and meet industry sector needs. “To have a locally delivered course, designed for local business and well supported by our secondary schools is very exciting. We look forward to more of the same in the future,” Davenport said.
Ara Acting Chief Executive Darren Mitchell agreed that a collaborative approach will bring about the best results. “Our job is to deliver the training that the region needs in ways that engage local learners and prepare them for employment in real workplaces. We value the partnership with Aoraki Development, local businesses and schools because it enables us to deliver programmes that are the most relevant to nurturing regional growth.”
The new course will also assist with Aoraki Development’s recently launched Youth Transition Initiative which aims to educate and excite youth about careers and job opportunities.