Twenty farm interns take the first step in their farming career

// Staff and Training

Twenty motivated farm interns enrolled in the Whangārei A&P Farm Intern programme for 2021 to gain hands-on experience in a free, 40-week programme.

image of whangarei interns

The two-year, full-time farm internship programme is an opportunity for young people interested in a farming career to get hands on experience whilst also working towards completing their New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture levels 3 and 4. 

Generally, interns spend one day a week doing theory-type work while the other four days are spent on farm learning the practical application of skills.

In only its second year of running, the Whangārei A&P Society are pleased to have 20 interns a part of their programme. 

“The Farm Internship programme, held in partnership with Land Based Training, is an extension of the Society’s passion to link rural with urban. It offers young people the chance to live and work on farm gaining industry and life skills concurrently while gaining formal qualifications in a manner similar to an apprenticeship,” says Chris Mason, CEO, Whangārei A&P Society.

B+LNZ is proud to support a grass roots capability building initiative of this caliber.

Veronica Gillett, B+LNZ’s Extension Manager for the Northern North Island says, “It’s great to have so many young people interested in farming – over half the interns are interested in sheep and beef career. This internship is a fantastic opportunity for young adults to get hands on skills and experience while also working towards NCEA qualifications.”

“Any beef and sheep farmers keen to host an intern can contact me or the Society.  I believe this is a great initiative for bringing young talent into the industry.”

“Last year I had the privilege of sharing a site at the Northland Field days with these outstanding young farmers and was looking forward to catching up with them and celebrating their progress this year before COVID-19 cancelled them; it was a great opportunity for their personal development to be the face of the programme in public. I look forward to watching these youngsters trial blaze into their farming futures.”

The recent induction

Ms Mason, Whangārei A&P Society says that last month, the interns completed an 8-day induction course at Barge Showgrounds which consisted of getting to know their fellow classmates and tutors, learning the basics of cooking a meal and started tractor, quad, fencing and chainsaw training.

“The interns also completed a first aid course; learnt how to crutch sheep on the new shearing stand at Barge Showgrounds and were shown some key dog handling and training skills during a visit to Murray Child's property in Maungakaramea,” says Ms Mason. 

Team building and confidence was also part of the programme. The interns visited the Glenbervie Adventure Forest and the Adrenalin Adventure Park.

“These activities were well received by the interns and linked well to communication, health and safety and working as a team – all core skills for success on farm.

“From as far afield as Kaitaia and Pukekohe, the interns are an enthusiastic and talented bunch. We look forward to following their on-farm journey as they work on their Level 3 New Zealand certificate in Agriculture.”

Ms Mason adds, “the Society was delighted with the support Northland farmers are giving the programme.  Without them putting their hands up to host an intern, the programme would not be possible. Thank you so much!” 

More about the Whangārei A&P Farm Intern programme

The programme takes a flexible approach. Some interns are living and working on farm, while others are commuting. Some are being paid the new scaled payment plan and others are being employed from day one. 

About the Whangārei A&P Society

Whangarei Agricultural & Pastoral Society is a not for profit, charitable organisation who is passionate about linking rural and urban. It is a well-established and respected local business with over 200 members. 

Most widely known for the annual A&P show in Whangarei which has been held since the late 1860’s, the Society has a keen interest in supporting the training and development of young people in the agriculture industry. For 17 years an annual scholarship had been awarded to young people studying in the industry and last year the Society offered two scholarship to Northlanders for the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.