Red Bands on campus

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Footwear is an easy ‘tell’ as to what you teach at WITT and it’s no surprise to learn that Agriculture Tutor Adrian Edser is most at home in his Red Band gumboots. It wasn’t always the case for Adrian who grew up a ‘townie’ until the age of 12, living just down the road from the WITT campus in Welbourn.

He says the early signs for a career on the land were there as he loved the outdoors and playing in the bush bordering Te Henui below his family home. At 12 he moved to the country and not long after his 15th birthday, he enrolled in a farming programme at WITT, which led to a 25-year career in the Taranaki dairy industry.

Around seven years ago he joined WITT as a tutor and says he loves giving back to the industry that has given him a good life.

“I get a kick out of helping people – helping giving people a direction in life and helping students get a foot in the door to a life of adventure in farming.”

He has good employment success for students graduating from his programme and regularly gets calls from farmers looking for good staff.

“I can pretty much guarantee employment at the end of the programme for the right student – there’s a job for everyone out there if you have the drive to do the work,” he says.

Naturally, he’s a big fan of the full-time year-long programme he teaches, which is a mixture of classroom-based learning and time on a working dairy farm in Egmont Village.

On the farm they get to apply their skills in a real-life setting, whether it’s the high of helping birth their first calf to trying their hand with modern technology like virtual fencing.

“Our farm is one of only 20 or so in the region with fencing you can move from your phone and an app that allows you to check on the location of your favourite cow all from the comfort of your armchair.”

“You learn the fundamentals of farming – so your first job is not so daunting and it demonstrates to a farmer that you can stick with something and that you are up for challenges that farming dishes up and have some resilience.”

WITT’s agricultural students get the best of both worlds and also get to enjoy campus life. When they are not on the farm they are part of a community of learners with access to a range of student events and support services.

So, for those who love the comfort of their gumboots and like the sound of a life of adventure on the land, the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Farming Systems (Level 3) might be just what you are looking for. The next intake starts 29 April so there's still time to enrol!

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