UCOL is now offering beekeeping and urban farming as new focuses for semester two.

A new suite of sustainable production programmes, such as establishing and maintaining beehives, and turning gardens into productive urban farms, will come into play for UCOL's trades and technology centre.

Qualifications offered are the certificate in horticulture with outdoor vegetable production, the certificate in apiculture, and the diploma in agribusiness.

Trades and technology executive dean Dr Nicky Van der Bergh says UCOL is the first institute in New Zealand to offer the programmes, which are suitable for a range of students.

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"Whether you're interested in healthy living, seeking a career in horticulture or beekeeping, or looking to diversify your farming, there is something for everyone in these new programmes."

The programmes will be offered partly online, via webinars, and block courses.

UCOL lecturer on the horticulture and apiculture programmes Jake Schultz has worked in the United States and South America and believes the opportunities in the New Zealand sector are huge.

"It's really coming out of its shell and I want to help students understand that you don't need a huge farm and investment to become viable," he said.