The man behind New Zealand’s newest agricultural training venture is a local farmer and entrepreneur – with a proven track record in the sector.
The money, mostly to be spent on refurbishing and maintaining buildings, will enable the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to run Telford until 2021.
It was formerly run by the Government, which last February paid $1.8m to keep the school open this year.
Another such school, Taratahi, went into interim liquidation last year at the request of its board.
In February, the Government agreed to a proposal by SIT to take over Telford.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the Government values the agricultural sector “extremely highly”.
The money will “ensure more trainees will enter the sector and help it grow,” he said.
“This is the first step in a complete revamp of agricultural education.”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the number of people in agricultural training fell dramatically over the last decade.
“The Government is ensuring we have a sustainable primary sector education model for the future.”
Hipkins said the funding is expected to set a platform for SIT to run Telford beyond 2021.
SIT has told the Government that it plans to teach at least 220 students in 2020 and 250 in 2021 at the Telford campus and further afield. The Government will spend several million extra to support these studies and training.
Hipkins says SIT will fully account for the money, most of it for earthquake strengthening of buildings and maintenance.