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How to lose 15 students in a single day …

take them to a Fencing Field Day and watch the job offers roll in.

Geraldine High School’s Primary Industry Academy (PIA) class was lucky enough to join the FCANZ National Fencing Field Day. Back in the day PIA introduced themselves to Whangarei on our class trip in July and invited themselves to the FCANZ National Fencing Field Day to run an event to showcase what school students are capable of. We were lucky enough to make friends with Donna Upton (FCANZ / NorthTec), Phil Cornelius (FCANZ) & Jim Smith (NorthTec) meeting up with them in the torrential, horizontal rain at the Young Farmer Final.

PIA is recognised as one of the top schools in New Zealand for practical primary sector training. We have been running for around 10 years modifying the course along the way and discovering that fencing is our “thing”. At school, the students each have their own set of posts and all the tools thanks to Strainrite, Waratah, Stockade & Geraldine ITM. In year 11 the main focus is wire work centered around a basic line with figure 8 knots, crimps, and adding in a permanent wire strainer in different ways. Year 12 students get their chainsaw ticket and advance to digging in posts and stays. These students are all out on the farm one day per week where they are able to put their skills into action.

Our top students enter in the Adult Young Farmer Fencing competition consistently making the top 3 in our region.

2022 has seen students working for local fencing contractors in the holidays and taking on projects of their own eg, building a fence for the Peel Forest Preschool and the boundary fence along the school river. The students have proven to be invaluable during the 2021 floods fixing fences and taking some of the stress off our farmers.

In Mosgiel we got some experience in what setting up a competition could look like with the aim of the day being to show what teenagers are capable of to the posh people of the fencing world,  receive feedback that what we are teaching is what employers want, and pick up valuable tips and hints.

Our demonstration consisted of 2 categories both using teams of 3. The strainers were pre-driven (massive thank you to Nick Terry from Custom Fencing). We had 7 teams in total consisting of 5 GHS and 2 Taieri High School. 

Class 1 – Intermediate 

Dig in an intermediate post and breast block, 3 wires, use a triplex 3 ways, set up electrics, add in a crimp and fig 8.

Class 2 – Advanced

As above, adding in a box and angle stays and chamfering the strainers.

For us the whole day was pure gold and made leaving home to start the first student pickups at 4 am well worthwhile. 

We can’t thank Donna and the team at FCANZ enough for this opportunity and to all the amazing contractors who stopped by for a yarn and were so willing to give up their time to hang out with the teenagers and share their expertise. 


Published in the Training & Events section of WIRED Issue 66 / September 2022 by Fencing Contractors NZ