Farmer commits to educating his future work force - Bream Bay College, Ruakaka

Posted on 2015-04-23 by W McD

Ruakaka dairy farmer Graham Hargreaves lives by the adage if you find a job you love, you never have to go to work. It’s a philosophy he is keen to instil in local students embarking on a career in agriculture. Graham takes community responsibility and education seriously. He is the father of two teenage boys at Bream Bay College and the chairperson on the school’s Board of Trustees. Committed to the community and the future of agriculture, last year Graham took on Year 12 student William Benson as part of a Gateway placement that sees students able to earn credits towards Level 1, 2 and 3 NCEA through work experience and hands-on practical learning.

“I’m a sixth generation farmer and I always wanted to be a farmer. I was fortunate to have that background. I’m all for exposing the next generation to the lifestyle, especially as there is demand for more educated and skilled workers at all levels across the primary industries. William lives up the road but is not on a farm. He approached me as he’d decided he wanted to go into dairy and needed real-life work experience for sector credits. In the past I’ve employed students through Ag ITO and Primary ITO and I’m a registered assessor. William worked weekends and I was able to train him up. He completed his credits, and is now a competent relief milker. “

NCEA credits are also linked to the Vocational Pathways. Primary Industries is one of the six pathways which students like William can use to develop an individual education plan and make informed choices about their future. William has done exactly that. His education pathway became clear and he is now enrolled at Telford and completing a Certificate in Agriculture with aspirations for a career in dairy farming.

Graham says the Vocational Pathways framework has great benefits for employers. Vocational Pathways help the employer as much as the student. Each pathway has been developed in collaboration with industry, so employers can be sure that the skills valued by them are represented. A student’s NZQA Profile clearly shows which pathways they have credits in, which tells the employer whether they are going to be suitable within their industry.

To other farmers thinking about linking with local schools and tertiary institutions Graham says: “Go for it. It’s great because students are keen. It gives them exposure to the industry without you having to commit to employment. It is cool helping kids achieve and learn, by steering them in the right direction and setting them up for a bright future. “



Dairy farmer and BOT chairman Bream Bay College, Graham Hargreaves (027-296-4908)

William Benson (021-185-0641)

Bream Bay College Prinicpal, Wayne Buckland (09-432-8226 ex703)

Bream Bay Gateway Co-ordinator, Gina D’Ath (09-432-8226 ex722)