Ag Challenge has opened a satellite campus in Marton catering for the needs of the Rangitikei community.

The Whanganui-based private training establishment has set up shop in the former Turakina Māori Girls' College on Hendersons Line in collaboration with new owners Te Rūnanga O Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa.

Ag Challenge took up residence in January in just part of the large complex now named Te Poho o Tu Arki, where it is delivering two courses - a level two farming course and a painting and decorating L3 course.

Field officer for the collaboration, Coral Raukawa-Manuel, said the former school was an ideal venue to deliver the courses because of its rural setting so close to town.

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Next term Ag Challenge will be running a BCATS programme from Marton as well as Whanganui. This is new for Marton. The course is an introduction to trade and DIY skills, while the painting and decorating programme will be run from Whanganui.

Also starting next term is a milk harvesting L3 programme for people employed as milkers and a farming systems L3 course.

"We have 20 students currently studying between the L2 farming and L3 painting and decorating courses," Raukawa-Manuel said.

"There are other things planned for the near future, including blueberry farming. This is very much a collaboration between Ag Challenge and the Runanga and this venue gives us an ideal place to deliver the practical hands-on farming aspects of the course. There are three residential homes on the complex and one of these is being used for the painting and decorating course. A kohanga reo will operate out of one of the houses.

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"The aim of the collaboration is to cater for the needs of both the local community and the Runanga," Raukawa-Manuel said.

As with all Ag Challenge courses, the rolling intake policy applies for the Marton programmes also allowing students to enrol throughout the year.