John Reid is well-equipped to head the schools agriculture studies at Ag Challenge in Whanganui.

The studies include agriculture, construction trades and animal care.

But his job is more than just to deliver these studies - it also involves providing secondary school students with a clear picture of what their future may hold if they opt for further tertiary study or a career in agriculture or the construction industry.

Reid is that link between the students and their potential future.


His background is firmly planted in the forestry sector and he has been a logger for more than 30 years.

The Whanganui-born and bred forester has contracted to Ag Challenge in recent years, beginning as a specialist chainsaw tutor in the Ag Challenge VMI (Vehicle Machinery and Infrastructure) course.

Moving to the wider scope of learning is a challenge Reid has welcomed and enjoys.

"It's a nice challenge and quite different to the logging industry, a completely different atmosphere," Reid said.

Normally a man of few words, Reid was quite happy to chat about how his secondary school students flourished under the Ag Challenge-style of learning.

"Not all kids are suited to classroom learning and while we do have some classroom studies, we are more focused on hands-on, practical learning outdoors. Some kids handle that much better and it's very satisfying watching them after they have mastered a certain skill. My job is to show them what their future might look like if they chose agriculture or construction as careers, or simply chose to continue with tertiary studies - it's a job I enjoy and am passionate about," Reid said.

While the Next Generation 2019 Secondary Schools' Provision course is almost at capacity, there are other spots available in the Farm Systems Technology, Animal Care, Vet Nursing, Milk Harvesting and Rats (RuralAnimal Technology) courses.

Ag Challenge has a rolling intake policy whereby students can enrol at any time throughout the year.