The range of opportunities for young men attending Palmerston North Boys’ High School who have an interest in Agriculture have broadened significantly in recent years. As well as Agricultural and Horticulture Science (an option subject from Year 10 – Year 13), Agri-Business has been introduced in the senior school and Gateway, the PITO (Primary Industries Training Organisation) Trades Academy programme and work experience options through the Year 13 Employment Pathways Programme all assist young men to explore and transition into employment and further training.
The activities of the PNBHS Young Farmers club support this by providing a range of opportunities for interested young men. In 2021 these included:
Young men attended the Agri Futures Careers Day at the NZ Rural Games. This included the completion of online careers activities intended to provide information about a wide range of future pathways in Agriculture.
A team of 48 (12 teams of four) competed in the Clash of the Colleges at the NZ Rural Games. Teams completed a diverse range of modules being awarded points at each. The team of Jock Chambers, Rory Watson, Rhys Mitchell and Nicolas Verry, were the winners of the junior competition, a superb effort considering the very large number of competitors from schools right across the Lower North Island. The senior team of Brock Gledhill, Quinn Gledhill, Sam Lahmert and Josh Langridge, were the inaugural winners of the trophy for the gumboot throw competition.
For the first time the NZ Rural Games also included a Secondary Schools Shearing competition. The PNBHS team of Zane Mumm, Aaron Christensen, Orlando Ratima and Jock Chambers enjoyed the experience of competing against other schools from the Manawatu, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki regions.
Senior students attended the Central Districts Field Days to complete the AgriQuest Challenge. This was an 'Amazing race' style challenge showcasing career opportunities in the primary industries. Students who successfully completed the challenge were eligible for a spot prize draw and it was great to see a significant number of young men receiving prizes
Charlie Duncan from Otiwhiti Station presented about the opportunities for farm training provided there while the frequent interactions with the PITO course providers exposed the growing number of young men involved to further Agriculture careers opportunities, with the Farm Careers ‘Taster Day’ being particularly popular.
A further Agriculture Taster Day was hosted by Massey University. This included a laboratory task examining the different absorption rates between Tokomaru and Taranaki soils, part of a study looking at the environmental effects on waterways from fertilizer and effluent runoff in different parts of New Zealand, as well as visits to two Massey University dairy farms where students looked at a study around the nitrogen fixation levels of Plantain crops, a big advance in making cows urinate less frequently and in less concentrated areas to help create a more sustainable future for farming in New Zealand.
Feilding High School hosted an Agri Sports competition that saw 44 young men in 11 teams of four compete. The team of Alex Baylis, Lucas Taylor, Nicolas Verry and Jamie Bennett, finished first equal in the junior competition, while team of Aaron Christensen, Remy Early, Quinn Gledhill and Hunta Gledhill placed second in the senior division. The activities included: grading wool, assembling a handpiece, calculating a mortgage, calibrating a drench gun, brushing a horse, putting a water pipe together, safety checking a quad bike, seed selection and various farming theory challenges. There was also an Agri-Olympics with wool sack races, egg throwing, tractor pulling and wheelbarrow races.
It is great to see the continued growth in interest in Agriculture amongst young men at PNBHS. There are a wide range of career opportunities available and it is very rewarding to see a growing number of our students transitioning into this essential sector of New Zealand society.