Responsibility for training in meat processing (but not poultry), meat inspection, fellmongery and leather manufacturing now falls to the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO), after its merger with the NZITO on 1 February.
The merger took place as part of the Government’s overall strategy to amalgamate ITOs and means that the Primary ITO is now officially the largest ITO in the country. The two organisations share a natural synergy and the move will help to strengthen and enhance the links between the producer and processor sectors, the organisation says.
As well as training the workforce involved in the production and processing elements of the food chain, Primary ITO also provides qualifications for people working in the service sectors connected to the primary industry. While these sectors are not export focused, they still have an important role to play.
NZITO chairman Graeme Sutton says: “We’ve created an organisation that offers the complete primary industry training package. There’s enormous capacity for training and education to raise global and national awareness of New Zealand’s primary industry.
“Our export industry is socially and economically vital to the country and central to the Government’s growth agendas, adding pressure on the sector to produce more value for exports. The coming together of all the primary industry ITOs will help to support the position of our industries in internationally competitive markets,” he says.
Incoming Primary ITO chairman John Parker, says he’s looking forward to chairing the new entity. “Its scale and breadth makes possible improved effectiveness, efficiency and the delivery of top quality training experiences to those working in New Zealand’s most important industries. It’s now up to the directors to capture those opportunities.”
John Parker recently retired from the Port of Tauranga, but his career has been largely in New Zealand’s primary sector, including dairy farming, farm forestry, kiwifruit, salmon farming and directorships of ENZA, the NZ Game Industry Board, Richmond Meats and Dairy Holdings Ltd.
The larger scale of the Primary ITO will not be detrimental to the individual sectors it covers and will retain a focus on all industries. The Industry Partnership Groups (IPGs), including the Meat Advisory Group, will ensure the voice of each and every industry sector is heard, promises the organisation.
Primary ITO is closely aligned to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the Ministry for Primary Industries. On 1 October 2012, the Agriculture and Horticulture ITOs merged to become the Primary ITO, which is also responsible for training across the water, equine and sports turf industries. Following the merger with NZITO, in addition to the meat qualifications, Primary ITO provides qualifications in dairy manufacturing, seafood and baking yeasts manufacturing.
Primary ITO provides leadership in education and training, develops national qualifications, maintains national standards and provides ongoing support for their trainees and employers. Primary ITO training is subsidised by industry and government.