An innovative Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) schools programme designed to engage primary and secondary school students in farming, can now be used to gain National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) credits.
The resources, trialled in 10 primary and 16 secondary schools last year, help students learn more about the sector and promote awareness of the wide range of career opportunities.
Resources, including assessments within the programme, have now received the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) Quality Assured Assessment Materials (QAAM) trademark.
Diane Falconer, RMPP’s project manager for people capability, says the resources were developed in response to farmers and the need identified by the Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) for more skilled and qualified people to enter the industry. It will be rolled out to further schools during 2017.
RMPP is a Primary Growth Partnership programme that is working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability. Funded by 10 partners – government and private sector – it works with farmers and sector businesses to develop, test and introduce new ideas, new technology solutions and new ways of working.
“MPI’s 2014 People Powered report identified the red meat sector will need about 11,000 more qualified people by 2025, particularly to achieve its targets of doubling the value of primary industry exports,” says Falconer.
“Also, 75 per cent of farmers agree not enough young people are coming into the industry and there’s a need to address the perception that farming is for secondary school students who are struggling.
“The reality is that agriculture offers really exciting and rewarding career opportunities using smart agribusiness technology to meet the growing world demand for New Zealand’s outstanding red meat products. To name but a few options, the sector needs farmers, scientists and agribusiness professionals.”
Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate was among the trial schools. John Bradfield, the school’s head of maths, said the maths department had used the resource across all of its Level 3 statistics classes, using adapted NCEA Level 2 inferences work for Level 3 students.
“The trial went very well and we will be continuing to use the resource,” says Bradfield. “We are always looking for material like this. There is a lot of depth to the data provided including around stock. We used data such as lamb weights, dates and single and multiple births.”
John McPhail, teacher in charge of agriculture at St Bede’s College in Christchurch, says he had written plans to incorporate the secondary resources into teaching for 2017.
“They are a great resource to get ideas for planning units of work,” said. “I have adapted them slightly to meet my needs but I would assume most teachers would do that.”
The programmes have been written by the Core Education professional learning and development organisation and are managed on RMPP’s behalf by NZ Young Farmers.
The primary school resource, for years seven and eight, is designed to fit into the school curriculum and be applicable to different subjects.
Falconer says the resource looks at the common stereotypes and aims to debunk the myths and broaden understanding around the many skills farmers need.
“It’s designed so that at the end of the programme, the children get to do a farm visit.”
The secondary school programme includes a cross-curriculum resource for maths and science for years nine and 10. There are additional resources for NCEA English, Maths and Science, including an agricultural resource for creative writing for NCEA Level One English and one on genetics for the Level Two maths statistics programme.
“It provides everything needed for the lesson. Schools do not have many examples of New Zealand data they can use in their curriculum so that’s very useful,” she says.
“The NCEA English and Science assessments have been awarded the QAAM standard from NZQA, and we are waiting for the remaining NCEA Statistics assessment to be quality assured by NZQA.”
Teachers provided extensive feedback on the resources and this was used to adjust the programmes for maximum effectiveness before they were submitted for NZQA quality assurance.
The RMPP partners are: Alliance Group, ANZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, ANZCO Foods, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank, Silver Fern Farms and Ministry for Primary Industries.