Data released this week shows the number of domestic students gaining agriculture qualifications fell by 23 percent since 2009.
TEU president Sandra Grey says it is disappointing to see the fall in agriculture students under the current government.
“This is another sign that this government is not supporting our regions.”
The data supported the Ministry of Education report What did they do? The field of study of domestic graduates 2011-2014. It shows that between 2009 and 2014 the number of domestic students completing qualifications in agriculture, environment or related students fell by 2000 students to 6,675.
Agricultural student numbers reached a nadir in 2011, and then managed a partial recovery – thus the report, which only reports on 2011-2014, describes an increase in students.
Overall, the ministry data shows a rise in student qualification in most fields other than agriculture and environment students.
This would accord with pressure from high unemployment along with a baby boom that passed through tertiary institutions in recent years and is now subsiding.
Agriculture employers over 140,000 in New Zealand – a well-educated highly skilled agricultural sector is crucial to the country’s well-being. Instead, we have government policies that are discouraging people from getting an education in our regions and supporting bad employers to offer low paying, unsafe jobs on farms.
Grey says these figures are a wake-up call and the government needs to reinvest in rural education.
“It’s no wonder we have a skills shortage on our farms, or that we need to supplement with immigrant labour, when we are not teaching enough local people the skills they need, or giving them the jobs need to get by,” says Grey.
Thanks to Katriona McCarthy at Flickr for the photo https://www.flickr.com/photos/117611583@N07/14147447209