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Stoking secondary school students interest in agriculture.

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Executive Summary

The primary industry is known as the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, with large amounts of exciting and broad career opportunities. Yet as the population grows many graduates prefer to head to urban based careers in large cities, than return to heartland New Zealand and take up careers in the primary sector.

The qualitative study reported here explores what career advice is been given to our future generations regarding the primary industry, what knowledge careers advisors have of the opportunities available, and finally what stigmas/barriers there are preventing students undertaking a primary industry career.

Most schools do promote careers in the primary sector however this could be one specific career such as vet, and most admitted they don’t do it well and could do it better. The overall feeling was careers advisors knew there were a broad range of careers opportunities available in the primary sector, however there knowledge of specific jobs was average. The main stigmas associated with the primary industry were seen as Agriculture was for ‘dummies’ and the work was too hard.

Strategies to help the promotion of primary industry jobs, include rebranding agriculture in the school curriculum to something more ‘sexy’ and to introduce a one semester taster course at year 9 & 10, followed by an NCEA paper to compliment. Also the industry needs to do better to harness social media as a career selling tool, especially in Auckland.

Stoking Secondary School Students Interest in Agriculture – Jason Rolfe