Agribusiness Centre of Excellence 2017 Launch

Monday 20th June 2016

2017 sees the launch of the College's latest academic programme, Agribusiness, a course designed to meet the needs of the best and brightest students wanting to enter tertiary study and pursue a career in the Agricultural and Business sectors.

Three years ago DairyNZ identified a major skills shortage in the agribusiness sector with research showing that the industry needed 1250 tertiary qualified workers entering the field each year. The Government’s target of doubling New Zealand’s primary sector exports by 2025 in itself will require around 25,000 more graduates, according to Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) figures. However, less than 200 students graduated from university agribusiness related courses in 2013, ringing alarm bells for industry experts. By introducing academically rigorous Agribusiness courses to secondary school students, more of New Zealand’s brightest young minds will become inspired by the opportunities available in this sector and realize that career prospects are numerous and diverse. St Paul’s Collegiate (Hamilton), DairyNZ, Beef & LambNZ and other primary industries experts have been working together since 2013 to develop an innovative Agribusiness teaching and learning programme that the Ministry of Education has recently endorsed. John McGlashan College has been included in this trailblazing venture as one of only eight lead schools throughout the country to offer the programme and open a Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Science and Business.

The programme will present material focused on four learning strands:

Agri-innovation, the study of innovative (bio) technologies and farm management practices that will ensure the future-proofing of primary industries in New Zealand (i.e, food safety, climate change, the globalization of trade, loss of biodiversity)

Agri-science, the study of scientific principles related to agriculture and horticulture and the acquisition of scientific skills necessary to sustain and improve New Zealand’s primary export products (food science, soil science and fertilizer chemistry, for example)

Agri-management and finance, the study of buying and selling within the primary sector, and the running of a successful Agri business with regard to the market forces that influence supply and demand

Agri-marketing, the study of successfully and appropriately marketing primary products with reference to the target consumer, how to ensure one secures the best market value, and sustainability in the supply-demand chain

At present, it is envisaged that the programme will be structured as follows:

Level 2, 201 Agribusiness: Students will take six level 2 subjects of which four will be compulsory - Agribusiness, Mathematics, English and at least ONE subject from either the Science pathway (Biology OR Chemistry) OR the Commerce pathway (Accounting OR Economics). Students are free to choose the two remaining subjects from any of those offered by the College.

Level 3, 301 Agribusiness: Students will take at least five level 3 subjects of which two will be compulsory; Agribusiness, and at least ONE subject from either the Science pathway (Biology OR Chemistry) OR the Commerce pathway (Accounting OR Economics), and one highly recommended subject from the NCEA Agricultural and Horticultural Science standards. Students are free to choose the two remaining subjects from any of those offered by the College.

This combination of the Agribusiness programme and other present NCEA subjects will result in students graduating with an Agribusiness qualification (which most New Zealand Universities have indicated they are willing to recognize) as well as their Level 3 NCEA qualification.

Prospective students would need to apply in writing to the Director of Agribusiness to enter the programme, and should be endorsed by the subject teachers (Chemistry, Biology, Accounting or Economics) and the Heads of Department to ensure the candidates are capable of successfully completing the requirements for these subjects at Level 2 and 3. 

Applicants would most likely need to secure Merit endorsements at Level 1 for Chemistry, Biology, Accounting or Economics (depending on which pathway, science or commerce, they have decided to pursue). Prospective students are strongly encouraged to take either Biology, Accounting, Chemistry or Economics at Level 1.

The College will launch the Level 2 programme in 2017, and Level 3 will commence in 2018.

For more information and to register your interest in the programme (either for yourself as a student, or for your son as a parent), please e-mail Dr. Craig Preston at 

Margot Darling, of Columba College, on a field trip with the John McGlashan College Year 13 Agricultural Science class (June 2016)
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