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New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems)

New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems)

Level 3

If you enjoy the outdoors and rural life, try farming as a career with the UCOL | Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems).

A photograph of lambs in a paddock
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations:  UCOL | Te Pūkenga Wairarapa Campus in Masterton

Duration: 26 weeks full-time
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

07 Feb 2023 - 08 Dec 2023

Domestic Fees: *
$4261.28Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

There are good job prospects in the pastoral farming industry for those who have an understanding of the key inputs into farming systems, and the wider context of the pastoral farming industry in terms of environmentally and financially sustainable farming practices.

The UCOL | Te Pūkenga New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems) provides students with practical competencies required for agricultural employment and further studies within the primary industry sector. The focus is on pasture, fertilisers, lambs/sheep, calves/cattle, farm dogs, soils, nutrition, hazards and injury, weather and rural employment.

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 26 weeks, including 4 holiday weeks..

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
16 hrs

In-person or online.
Industry Experience
12 hrs

Work placement in an agricultural setting.
Study Time
6.5 hrs

Study in your own time.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of this qualification will be able to work under limited supervision in the pastoral farming sector in a range of roles including milk harvester, shepherd, dairy farm assistant or general farm hand. You'll be able to:

  • Apply theoretical knowledge of key farming inputs to pastoral farming systems
  • Assist with key livestock production tasks in a pastoral farming context
  • Utilise technology within pastoral farming systems
  • Assess and minimise risk to self, others and equipment
  • Apply theoretical knowledge of sustainable practices to pastoral farming systems.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries Farmers and Farm Managers, see

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL | Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

From 2023, UCOL | Te Pūkenga and the programme you have enrolled in will become part of Te Pūkenga. So, if you join UCOL | Te Pūkenga in 2023, you will be awarded Te Pūkenga certification. And, if you are a current learner graduating in 2023, you will be awarded a co-branded certificate.

This programme comprises 85 credits.

  • Pastoral farming, agricultural systems and technology
  • Sustainable practices
  • Animal anatomy and physiology
  • Land and water quality and use 
  • Fertiliser use and implications
  • Soil properties
  • Farm practices and farm animal behaviour
  • Assist with livestock grazing management and sale
  • Assist with handling cattle in yards
  • Assist with the preparation and handling of lambs for docking
  • Handling livestock, recognise and assist health problems
  • Farm dogs
  • Calf rearing from birth to weaning
  • Health and safety

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (including Literacy 10 credits and Numeracy 10 Credits at Level 1) or equivalent.

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.0 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL | Te Pūkenga is a TOEFL testing centre.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5.0 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL | Te Pūkenga is a TOEFL testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

Students need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating in the rural workforce. If you have any special needs or requirements, advise the Programme Leader before the course begins.

Additional costs
While some personal protective equipment is provided by UCOL | Te Pūkenga, students must supply their own gumboots, overalls, wet weather gear and sturdy work shoes/steel cap boots.

Work experience
This programme contains 288 hours of work experience to allow students to develop their practical skills in an agricultural setting. You'll need to budget for associated travel costs.

For any required work experience component of the programme, should a student be placed with an employer that has a ‘zero tolerance for drug and alcohol policy’ and the student does not agree to have a drug and/or alcohol test prior to being placed on work experience, then that student may not be able to complete the programme.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:

  • 20 hours per week of timetabled theory and practical classes
  • Work experience
  • Up to six hours per week of self-directed learning (your own time spent on research and study to complete your written assignments)

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL | Te Pūkenga Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.