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“Peritum graduates had access to the very best lecturers with a world of knowledge in agriculture. They had access to the best possible practical education and agriculture institutions in the country. This puts them in a position to be successful and contribute to making South Africa one of the best agriculture countries in the world.”
These were the words of Ernest Beck, director of Peritum Agri Institute, following the institute’s graduation ceremony on 21 April at Leopards & Lace in Bloemfontein, Free State. A total of 90 students graduated, receiving national diplomas in both plant and animal production.
Peritum’s national diplomas are designed to be career-focussed, with practical courses to develop skilled, ready-for-work graduates for the agri talent pipeline. All diplomas are 100% accredited, with equal time focussed on practice and theory. The course material is supported by access to dynamic role-players in the agriculture sector through Peritum’s partnerships.
“The development of skilled people for the agriculture industry is of critical importance,” says Jaco Beyers, John Deere’s managing director Africa and Middle East, a long-term Peritum partner. “We need young people in agriculture. They are more open to adapt to and embrace the fast-paced technological advances, which, by now, we know are crucial for successful farming.”
Partners are key
John Deere, manufacturers of some of the most technologically advanced farming equipment, partners with Peritum because it’s important to invest in every generation, according to Beyers. “Many of these students don’t come from farms or a farming background, but their interest in the industry is proof of the many career opportunities the sector offers. We resonate with Peritum’s values and their continuous evolvement in training young people who will drive the industry forward with their innovative thinking.”
Ferdi Marx, John Deere regional parts distribution centre manager, attended the graduation on the company’s behalf.
“We are here today because people need to eat,” Marx said in his keynote speech addressing students. “More and more skilled people are required in the industry, as we need to find innovative ways to help feed the continent and play our part in food security.” He went on to say that they are very positive about South Africa and even more so about agriculture, which is why they will continue to invest in the industry. “This is also why John Deere partners with a reputable institution such as Peritum to offer the John Deere Precision Agri Technology course, enabling young producers to master the full functionality of John Deere machines.”
“The value in our partnerships with John Deere and the RPO cannot be overstated,” Beck says. “It’s almost impossible to imagine offering these two diplomas without their involvement. They provide support by sharing their resources and expertise, whether it be through practical learning or acting as guest lecturers. Our partnerships provide our students with exposure to real agriculture.”
Another one of these partners is the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) of South Africa, an organisation representing producers to promote the sustainability and profitability of the red meat industry in the country. James Faber, chairperson of the RPO, attended the graduation ceremony and says there is a high demand for skilled people on all levels of agriculture.
“Agri training is becoming increasingly critical to fill this void. Taking into consideration the capital flow in the agri sector, producers and agribusinesses can’t afford to employ unskilled people. The RPO is honoured to be associated with the level of training offered by Peritum, and glad to see students from all walks of life graduating,” Faber says. The graduation ceremony, he added, was of the highest professional standard, which excites him about the talent entering the greater agri sector.
Many of the 90 students graduated in absentia, as they are already working full-time jobs in the agri industry. This is proof of the value and relevance of Peritum’s diplomas. The graduation was a special ceremony to give recognition to students who successfully completed two years’ studies.
“My wish for these graduates is to never back down and to embrace new practices with confidence and passion,” says Beck, “to ensure food security for South Africa and Africa.” – Press release, Peritum Agri Institute