A more natural way to learn

Central Otago is a recreational paradise, but it offers much more than a travel destination. If you love nature and the outdoors, you can make it your future workplace. You’ll be surprised how many study options you have to get started and begin a career working with nature.

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Our main campus is in Dunedin but our Cromwell campus (and its surrounds) is where much of the outdoor learning occurs.

The Central Otago region is celebrated as a leading summer fruit producer, as well as being famous worldwide for its Pinot Noir wines.

Our Central Campus offers students the chance to gain hands-on experience. Our facilities include a commercial vineyard, cherry orchard, plant production nursery, hydroponic herb and vegetable unit.

We also offer the chance to learn how to protect land, life and environments in a sustainable way.

The New Zealand Certificate in Land Based Sustainability Practices (Level 3) is the perfect programme for those passionate about conserving our natural environment. It’s an online programme that nonetheless offers a mix of practical activities, videos and other resources while working with an interactive community of learners.

We also offer a pathway for those wishing to develop their “green thumbs” as well as get paid for doing what they love.

Our Nursery and Fruit Production programmes, which include Nursery Production (Level 3) and Fruit Production (Level 4), are aimed at those already working in the industry. They provide a 50-50 mix of theoretic and practical skills, including experience working in our campus nursery, modern glasshouses and 10ha crop production facility, on which we grow grapes and cherries.

And in undertaking work experience within Central Otago’s extensive horticulture industry, you’ll be able to plant strong roots in the form of real-world skills and relationships.

For those who enjoy gardening, want to grow food for the whānau or are already working in the horticulture industry, our online New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) provides a solid pathway to further study or a career.
And because we understand that full-time study isn’t always possible, you are also able to enrol in this programme part-time, studied over one year with an intake in February. Note: our July intake is only available as a full-time option.

It follows that we cater to bees, too. After all, they are crucial to our ecological cycles.

Apiculture is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing industries. To cater to this demand, our range of programmes empower learners with the skills and knowledge to work as an assistant beekeeper for commercial operators, an independent beekeeper with a small number of beehives, or to even develop a business.

Notably, you can study all the above programme for free during 2022 thanks to the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (*additional costs may apply).

Location matters

Location is an all-important component in our learners’ success. Surrounded by rivers, mountains, lakes, Central Otago offers what we describe as “full-immersion” learning.

Location is an all-important component in our learners’ success. Surrounded by rivers, mountains, lakes, Central Otago offers what we describe as “full-immersion” learning.

Dr Megan Gibbons, Chief Executive Otago Polytechnic, says people sometimes don’t understand that vocational education can combine both in-work and in-environment experiences. In short, the best of both worlds.

“It’s all about the best context for learning. That’s why the environment is such an important part of our programmes. Skills-based environments, versus more traditional lectures, solidify the experience for our learners.”

Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Otago Polytechnic

Discover our Central Otago Campus

  • Find out more about our Cromwell and Wanaka campuses
  • Explore the qualifications you can study in Central Otago

Learn more

Need career advice?

If you’re struggling to decide what you want to study, we are here to help! We have friendly, knowledgeable Careers Advisors who can provide advice tailored to your passions and skills.

Published on 02 Jun 2022