Trainees in the primary industries earn income while they train and study for qualifications. The ability to learn and earn is emerging as a key factor for students making decisions on study and careers.

The Government’s new tertiary policy means eligible trainees and apprentices in the primary industries can access up to two years’ fees-free training. Trainees already in programmes say learning on the job, at full pay, offers significant benefits they couldn’t find in other sectors.

There are two avenues for students at school to start their involvement with a career in primary industries. Primary ITO, the only organisation in New Zealand dedicated to providing training and qualifications to over 30 primary industries, runs Trades Academy and Gateway programmes in some schools. Both blend theory and real life work experience to set students up to progress to rewarding careers in primary industries.

For school leavers and others looking for active, supportive careers working with animals and science and technology, Primary ITO offers 15 different apprenticeships in a number of industries - including sheep, beef and dairy farming or horticulture. There are also numerous jobs with training, offered by companies in the primary industry all over New Zealand.

The Ministry for Primary Industries estimates New Zealand will need an extra 50,000 qualified workers in the sector in the next eight years. A career in primary industries offers income and education – plus a solid career path with industries needing qualified, capable people ready to grow.