New Zealand trip inspires apprenticeship rethink

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A skills and learning advocate, who travelled to the other side of the world to gain insights into apprenticeships, is looking forward to implementing his findings in the South West.

Having secured funding from the Farmers Club Agricultural Educator Awards, Roger Clarke, Work Based Learning Curriculum Lead at Duchy College, embarked on the epic research project in New Zealand.

His aim was to study apprenticeship delivery models and see how other countries and providers deliver, assess, and engage with schools and employers.

“My proposal to the Farmers Club was to carry out this work in New Zealand, Germany and to also talk to other UK Colleges,” he explained.

“Hopefully the conclusion will allow us to develop what some might consider a blue print of delivery.”

As part of his tour, Roger visited Otiwhiti Station, a land-based training agricultural school with a 2,000 hectare large scale sheep and cattle breeding property.

He also visited the National Trade Academy, which provides a range of agriculture, equine, horticulture and forestry training courses.

The funding is specifically designed to help those employed in agricultural education to widen and develop their own technical expertise through study activities inside or outside the UK.

Applications focus on the application of science and technology in farming which contribute to the sustainability and profitability of agriculture in the UK, as well as improving the future security of our food production.

Roger said that while many things in New Zealand are very similar in terms of apprenticeship provision, “there are subtle differences”.

“There is a wider understanding of apprenticeships and the majority of employers actively seek out apprenticeships,” he explained.

“There are also differences in the timing of delivery of the training aspect of the apprenticeship, something I am keen to explore further.”

However, after 2,500km travelled and eight sites and providers visited, Roger added it was clear that all colleges face the same “challenges, opportunities and frustrations”.

Roger is travelling to Germany later in the year to look at apprenticeship and training provision in other sectors, including engineering and technology.

For more information on the range of courses available across The Cornwall College Group visit or call 0330 123 2523.