One of the country’s largest providers of agricultural training, Taratahi Institute of Agriculture, was recently placed into liquidation, leaving students and staff facing an uncertain future. Here is our second post about what this means for some of the staff affected.
"I feel sorry for our students and for everyone else here” says Sue Kingi Potiki at a meeting to try to find a way to stop the closure of farming courses provided at the Telford farm.Sue is one of 250 staff facing an uncertain future after Taratahi, an education provider training student for work on farms across New Zealand, was placed into liquidation just before Christmas.There is no doubt that Sue loves her job in the Telford kitchens. “I love all the students … and I have great staff”. Added to this she likes working as a cook in a space where she gets to enjoy Christmas holidays with her husband, children, and grandchildren.The liquidation announcement that put the Telford staff and students in limbo was a kick in the guts.Sue didn’t want the news of the liquidation to affect her family holiday and wouldn’t let her husband cancel their plans but “it’s been on my mind the whole time what everyone else is going through because it’s like a big family.”Chatting about the future of the institution Sue’s concern is for others. “I’m worried about everyone else here as well. A lot of them, we’ve all worked here for a long time and want to see it keep going.”The truth is that the staff want to keep supporting the students, there is demand with farms crying out for trained farm workers, and, there are students enrolled.What’s needed now is government backing. Sue hopes the Minister of Education gets behind plans for SIT to take over the Telford provision.Otherwise the passionate, talented, and committed staff like Sue will be forced to move on. “I will give it to the end of February – and then I’ll have to look for another job.”