An online dairy course introduced by Whanganui-based AGC Training has passed muster under the most stringent conditions.
The agricultural private training establishment (PTE) introduced the course in November last year attracting the interest of a small number of students already working in the industry.
However, with the arrival of Covid-19 and the subsequent level 4 lockdown, registrations soared.
Executive director Peter Macdonald said the Milk Harvesting Level 3 course proved its worth under conditions of the lockdown environment.
"The course is designed for people who are either working on a dairy farm or seeking to gain employment," Macdonald said.
"People enrolling on this course need to be a New Zealand citizen, have citizenship or permanent residency and be eligible to study New Zealand.
"At this time we are offering this course free to all participants to sign up and commit. We are offering it as a mix of blended online delivery with practical to be done on the farm or in block courses.
"This being said, anyone who is in enrolling into this programme would need to have the ability to study online. You would need to have access to a suitable electronic device and have a good internet connection.
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"Participants of this programme also need to have access to a real dairy farm and be involved in milking the cows. The theory aspects of this programme can be delivered primarily as an online package with some classroom group activities possibly further down the track.
"Practical evidence could be gathered as part of your everyday life on the farm and this would be captured in a task record book/diary that could be hardcopy, but preferably online.
"We may undertake practical skills assessment or development days to ensure you have the skills suitable for our assessors to deem you competent for the dairy industry.
"For those of you who are new to online learning our tutors are available through Moodle to mentor, create discussion, setup group chat activity, and teach."
Students need to commit to approximately 5 to 6 hours a week of theory online with the remainder being practical activities that are being undertaken on-farm.
This is also an opportunity for those people who have been working in the dairy industry for a time to gain recognition of their skills and knowledge.