OPOTIKI has become home to an in-depth pest operations course, run by Toi-Ohomai.
Educators Irimana and Te Owai Gemmell have led 11 students since early August in understanding the ins-and-outs of trapping and pest control.

“It’s also about understanding health and safety,” said Mrs Gemmell.

The course covers 19-weeks of both theory and hands-on learning, with a level three New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations awarded upon completion.

Currently, the learners are moving into the hands-on phase, preparing for possum trapping in the forestry around Opotiki.

Prior to this, the team had to learn what traps were permitted, how to arm them and what type of baits are best.

“The younger ones are really excited to get out there and actually do it,” said Mr Gemmell.

Mr Gemmell added that after catching possums, the course also educated learners on how to pluck, skin and sell their prize.

“We’re really looking to get them into employment once they finish.”

Other skills the course builds include navigation, certification to operate light utility vehicles, first aid certification and firearm safety.