In June this year, SASRI hosted its 100th Senior Certificate Course in sugarcane agriculture since it first began in 1963. To think that over the past 56 years, over 4000 people have attended the five-week Senior Course is astounding!
Whilst the course has been adapted over the years to address new research outcomes and farming practices, it has at the very core, remained the same, covering all aspects of farming from land preparation to harvesting.
Each module is delivered largely by active researchers and specialists in their field of discipline allowing latest recommendations arising from new research to be included in the course material. Along with support staff and group facilitators, over 30 staff are involved in each Senior Course, including 5 to 6 external consultants, many of whom are ex-SASRI staff members themselves.
Quote from one student: “The course was delivered with a high level of professionalism. Not only are the lecturers specialists in their fields, but they make us understand the content so well. Thank you for a well organised and informative course.”
The course has attracted many interesting characters from other sugar industries around the world, as far afield as Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even China. It is held in high regard by all who attend, and although they find it challenging and intensive, most come away with a new appreciation for all that needs to go into making farming a success.
To ensure the smooth running of the course, a full-time course co-ordinator remains on-hand to personally manage and address the needs of each student. One of the stalwarts of the course was the late Raj Balbador who coordinated many courses from the early 1990s until his retirement in 2014.
Our current course coordinator is the highly-organised Belinda Simpson who patiently and calmly deals with all challenges that arise. Belinda handles all applications months in advance of each course and liaises with specialists around the timetable.
We wish to thank everyone involved in the management and delivery of the Senior Course and endeavour to continue empowering farmers through the delivery of highly relevant and up-to-date material, as long as our Industry requires it.
Find out more about SASRI Certificate Courses from our website www.sasri.org.za. Dates, entry requirements and costs are available and, for ease of use, you can even submit an online application. Alternatively, you can contact Belinda Simpson on (031) 508 7405. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as places are always in high demand.
Michelle Binedell is SASRI Knowledge Manager