[16 June/ NZ Farmers Weekly]

Primary ITO CEO, Kevin Bryant, announced a range of new initiatives at Fieldays which he believes will enable new and existing farm workers to secure the skills training they need. Primary ITO had identified that a lack of time was one of the main barriers to study and as a consequence the ITO is proposing to make increasing use of technology for both programme delivery and assessment. Some teaching would be delivered through the use of how-to vidoes while assessment will be conducted by having the student filmed completing a task and it being sent to a tutor to assess. Mr Bryant said that high rates of smart phone ownership and the increasing availability of rural broadband now made this option practicable. He added that the organisation had been working behind the scenes to try and break down the silos in agricultural training which have seen people being trained above or below their actual training needs, noting the ITO had been working with DairyNZ to identify key positions in industry and assist in ensuring that there are sufficient qualified farm managers coming through the system each year.