Young farmers seek mentors in Whangārei

// B+LNZ // Extension

The Whangārei A&P Society’s Farm Intern Programme has been a success, attracting young people eager to gain qualifications and practical farm experience.

image of whangarei interns

Since starting in 2020, the Whangārei A&P Society’s Farm Intern Programme has produced 43 Level 3 NZ Certificate in Agriculture graduates and 14 Level 4 NZ Certificate in Agriculture graduates. 

Numbers continue to grow, with 19 new interns starting the programme this year, and five coming back for the Level 4 programme. 

Whangārei A&P CEO Chris Mason says the programme already has candidates looking to join next year. 

“If you or someone you know is interested in being a mentor or employer for young, eager people wanting to gain practical experience whilst completing their formal training, please get in touch,” says Mason. 

“We believe the programme works because dedicated farmers (YOU!) with a wealth of knowledge, give back to the industry by taking a young person ‘under their wing’ and giving them a chance to shine. Without this, the programme would not be the success it is today."

“The programme differs from others because interns are individually supported to achieve employment and qualification success. We endeavour to do this in a way that supports farmers, so they can carry on with their business, still being productive,” she says. 

The programme provides a pathway to higher education and supports a transition from secondary school into employment, sometimes picking up learners who have disengaged from the compulsory education system.  

As part of its People and Capability workstream, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) supports the Farm Intern programme amongst other similar initiatives. 

Learn 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.