Bark Up opens eyes to ag

A few decades ago most people who didn’t live on farms knew people who did.

That meant young people who might be interested in careers  on farms or in farm support had little difficulty in investigating opportunities.

It’s very different now. New Zealand is much more urbanised and a lot of children grow up with little or no idea about career opportunities in agriculture.

Enter the Haka Bark Up which Sally Rae reports introduced 120 year 10 – 13 pupils to agriculture and supporting industries.

Among the pupils Geraldine High School agriculture teacher Margaret Walker took to last year’s Omarama Bark Up was a teenager “with very little focus on life”.

But when he saw the shearing module, his eyes “lit up with a passion”, and now, 12 months down the track, he is about to start an apprenticeship.

That teenager, who would have otherwise dropped out of school, now has introductory qualifications through Tectra.

“Now he’s just waiting to sign on the dotted line for his apprenticeship. You couldn’t ask for a better story. From a kid who was just going to drop out, to a kid with a passion.”

When the ag-sag of the 80s hit job opportunities were lost on farms and in farm support. For a couple of decades agriculture hasn’t been on the radar for a most young people when they’re considering what they want to do when they leave school.

But changes in farming fortunes in recent years, especially but not only in dairying, have led to more employment opportunities.

Initiatives like the Bark Up are good for both young people whose eyes are opened to opportunities in agriculture and the people who could employ them.

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