In addition to its successful Diploma in Aquaculture, in 2015, NMIT will offer two new higher level aquaculture qualifications– a vocationally-focussed Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture; both are unique in New Zealand.
The institute has also developed a Trades Academy course in Maritime and Aquaculture, where students from local secondary schools study at NMIT one day a week while still at school. Another initiative is the ‘Salmon in Schools’ project, where NMIT aquaculture students mentor secondary school classes to hatch and raise salmon.
NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray says there has been a “huge amount” of industry consultation in developing the new programmes, through industry surveys, independent research and the input of NMIT’s advisory committee. “One of the key recommendations from industry was that the programmes needed to be available part-time and online for those already in employment – which we have listened to.”
The new programmes are expected to attract students from around New Zealand and overseas. NMIT Aquaculture Programme Coordinator Dr Mark Burdass says the new qualifications are aimed at filling a need for qualified staff in what is a relatively new industry for New Zealand.
“Many senior staff in the aquaculture industry in New Zealand currently come from overseas – there’s not much home-grown talent. We see a real opportunity to start developing that core and building a greater level of expertise and professionalism in the local industry.”
The Cawthron Institute is a key partner in the delivery of the new programmes. Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says “The predicted growth in aquaculture research and development and production that is happening at the Glen Aquaculture Park heralds opportunities for students locally and nationally - with benefits for industry from an increasingly skilled workforce.
This course, and growth in expertise within the aquaculture industry, should help with regional economic development in the Top of the South and nationally.”
New Zealand King Salmon Chief Executive Grant Rosewarne says the company is delighted with NMIT’s development of both a degree and postgraduate qualification.
“It grows top industry talent in the region, and builds further strength and depth to the aquaculture industry here. By world standards, we're small but smart, and these new qualifications just add to that intellectual capital.”
Aquaculture New Zealand Chief Executive Gary Hooper says aquaculture in New Zealand has grown from small beginnings to become a significant primary industry.
“The aquaculture sector currently generates over $400 million in revenue and employs over 3,000 Kiwis in green jobs. We have a target of reaching $1 billion in sales by 2025 and to do that, we know that the industry needs to invest in training and education to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
"We are very supportive of NMIT’s move to develop these new aquaculture-relevant qualifications which will help meet industry needs.”
Aquaculture education at NMIT is delivered in state of the art facilities at NMIT’s Nelson Campus and at the Cawthron Institute’s facilities at the Glen Aquaculture Park.