TeenAg course helps hone Te Awamutu student’s leadership skills

Posted by on 23 April 2019 | Comments


Te Awamutu student Brad Greenhalgh has spent the start of the school holidays honing his leadership skills. 

The 15-year-old was one of 15 TeenAg members selected to attend a three-day leadership programme in Rotorua. 

“It was an amazing opportunity. I learned so many new skills and met a number of people who I hope to stay in contact with,” said Brad.

Students were taught how to set goals, communicate confidently, manage their time and create an eye-catching curriculum vitae (CV).

The course called Raising the Standards was run by NZ Young Farmers and funded by DairyNZ. 

It was designed to enhance the skills of emerging leaders within TeenAg clubs. 

“The aim is to increase students’ awareness of opportunities in the primary industries while helping to hone their leadership skills,” said Mary Holmes from NZ Young Farmers.

“They learned about different graduate programmes, the wide range of agri-related scholarships on offer and how some agri-businesses encourage secondments overseas.”

Guest speakers included agri-business bankers, consultants, a dairy farmer, Te Awamutu vet Emma Dangen and local PGG Wrightson forage agronomist Sophia Clark.

“I plan on keeping in contact with Sophia. I’m quite keen to train as an agronomist,” said Brad.

“I’m taking agriculture, horticulture and science, but I may need to adjust what I’m studying to qualify for certain university courses.”

The group toured Fonterra’s dairy factory in Reporoa, which produces a highly nutritious product used in hospitals for sick patients called sodium caseinate.

“It was really interesting. It was eye-opening to see that there’s more to the dairy industry than milking cows,” said Devlin Gurr who’s a student at Whangarei Boys’ High School.

“I knew there were other jobs in processing and research, but not on the scale we saw.”

A highlight of the course for Brad, who’s the chair of Te Awamutu College’s TeenAg club, was developing new networks.

“Our TeenAg club is only two years old, but we’ve got about 20 members,” he said.

“It was awesome to meet other TeenAg members from the upper North Island who’ve competed in the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year.”

Last week’s leadership course was attended by students from Whangarei Girls’ High School, Dargaville High School, Okaihau College, Huanui College, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Forest View High School, Hamilton Boys’ High School, Te Kauwhata College and Mount Albert Grammar School.

The course is the first of three planned across New Zealand this year. 

“As the facilitator of the course it was humbling to see students’ confidence grow and for them to leave with new goals and a network of life-long friendships,” said Mary Holmes.

TeenAg clubs are a key part of the work being done by NZ Young Farmers to attract students into the agri-food sector.