Otago Polytechnic

Level 3 High country farming (on campus) - TTAF funded


Central Otago

One year full-time

On campus with work placement on a high country station in Central Otago 

February, April and July
Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    20 July 2020
    30 November 2020 - 12 February 2021
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
    5 April 2021 - 16 April 2021
  • Central Otago
    15 February 2021
    28 June 2021 - 16 July 2021
    5 April 2021 - 16 April 2021
    27 September 2021 - 8 October 2021

Do you want to gain work-ready farming skills?

Farming careers are fun and rewarding and there is strong demand nationally for passionate people who want to work with livestock in the farming industry. This Central Otago-based qualification is the only farming training programme in New Zealand with a high country flavour.

With an emphasis on the ‘hands on’ approach to learning, this outdoors-based programme will prepare you for a career in agriculture. Covering a wide range of skills, you also have the added benefit of on-farm practical assessments, as well as work placements on local high country stations. Upon successful completion, you will be able to be employed in pastoral farming/rural-based workplaces under limited supervision. 

Successful graduates of this programme will gain the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems) (Level 3) AND the New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills (Level 3) (Infrastructure).

Entry requirements
  • There are no academic entry criteria for this programme.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.  
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Selection criteria

1. You will need to have a full drivers licence.

2. You will need to provide a letter of application. Your letter of application should comprise no more than 500 words and should explain: 

  • why you have chosen to apply for the two programmes within this qualification - New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Skills) (Level 3) and New Zealand Certificate in in Primary Industry Operational Skills (Level 3) (Infrastructure)
  • your expectations of the programme
  • your career goals in the field of agriculture
  • the steps you have already taken to progress your career goals. 

Alternatively, you can provide a 5-minute video of yourself covering the same points. 

3. Please supply supporting references and details of any farming experience with your application.

If the numbers of applicants who meet the selection criteria exceed the available places, a waitlist will be used to ensure preference is given to applicants in order of application. 

You will study
Course name Credits
Health and Safety in Agriculture  15
Animal Handling - Sheep 15
Animal Health 15
Pastures and Soils 10
Animal Handling - Cattle 15
Sustainable Practice in Agriculture 10
Food and Fibre Production 5
Vehicles and Machinery in Agriculture 20
Farm Infrastructure 15
Work experience

In Term Four, those who are ready are able to participate in a farm-based, work placement experience to apply their skills in a real-world environment. This also provides an opportunity for gaining valuable contacts in the farming industry. To be eligible for work experience, you must be competent in core areas such as health and safety, quad bike use and basic stock handling. You must have also demonstrated a passionate attitude towards working in the agriculture industry.

Further study options 

After successful completion of this programme, you can continue studying farming at Level 4 or diploma-level whilst working on the job.

Additional costs

You will be expected to bring outdoor clothing suitable for a high country environment. Please ask us if you would like a list of required clothing. Email central@op.ac.nz 

Student loans/allowances with TTAF

Whilst this programme is free for you to study via the Trades and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), this fund only covers tuition fees and compulsory costs such as student levies. It does not cover any additional costs or living costs. You can pay for additional and living costs by yourself if that is possible for you or by applying for a loan or allowance through Studylink.      

It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

  • For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website 

Please note: Student Loans and Allowances and TTAF are available for domestic students only. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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