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Posted on 23 July 2014
A new agreement signed in July between Lincoln University and Open Polytechnic will give domestic and international students increased access to agriculture, horticulture and environment qualifications at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The synergies between the two organisations - with Lincoln University being New Zealand’s specialist provider of tertiary education for the land-based sector, and Open Polytechnic the country’s specialist provider of distance learning - will see an increase in education opportunities for learners already working in or wanting a career in land-based industries.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two institutions will see them work together to develop and deliver an increased range of courses and qualifications in the agriculture, horticulture and environment disciplines with the aim of boosting productivity and closing skill gaps for workers in these important specialised fields.
Lincoln University and Open Polytechnic will also be working closely together to explore new opportunities in the areas of professional development and the delivery of short courses.
Other initiatives expected to result from the agreement include Open Polytechnic horticulture and environment graduates being able to pathway into higher level Lincoln University qualifications; Lincoln University using the Open Polytechnic’s online learning platform to benefit their students; and the establishment of a collaborative relationship to deliver tertiary education in the international market.
An immediate benefit of the MoU will see agriculture workers gain increased access nation-wide to education programmes through FarmSafe, a specialist enterprise 100% owned by Lincoln University.
A new programme in FarmSafe, known as FarmSmarter, has already been piloted by Open Polytechnic around the country, and focuses on extending the production management skills of farmers and farm managers.
As a result of Lincoln University and Open Polytechnic working together, FarmSafe will also soon introduce a new programme for the horticulture sector, recognising the important role this industry plays in land-based industries.
”In light of the Ministry for Primary Industries ‘Future capability needs for the land-based industries in NZ’ report released in June, this partnership is a positive step forward for the land-based industries”, says Jeremy Baker, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Business Development) at Lincoln University. “The current primary industry strategies, if successfully implemented, have the potential to significantly expand employment within the land-based industries by ‘a further 33,000 to 403,000 by 2025’.”
“Individually, our two organisations have a long history of helping increase the skills of those working in land-based industries”, says Dr Caroline Seelig, Chief Executive of Open Polytechnic. “This MoU will see us build on our different expertise as tertiary education providers and leaders in our fields, to harness more flexible learning opportunities for those working in, or wanting to work in, land-based industries.”