Fast Facts

Hiring season spurs dairy apprentice drive

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As dairy farmers get into a key staff recruitment time, Federated Farmers is ramping up the promotion of the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy.

“Feds staff and key elected leaders will be at the Central Districts field days in Palmerston North, inviting farmers to register for the pilot programme,” the Federation’s Dairy Chair, Chris Lewis, said.

Since the pilot launched in October 2017 more than 200 farmers and potential apprentices have registered their interest. “As dairy farmers turn their minds to their staffing needs in the coming season, we expect that number to grow,” Chris said.

The joint initiative between Federated Farmers and the Primary ITO is a revised apprenticeship programme, re-oriented to suit those new to the dairy industry – from school leavers to career changers. For many the training can start straight away.

It is also a means to attract motivated, quality staff by providing a pathway for new entrants to move through the programme into herd and farm management. These are the farm managers of the future.

A key element that differs from existing training programmes is that eligible employers sign a Farm Charter. The Charter is both a commitment from farmer employers to provide a work environment that will best support the training and development of apprentices as well as a commitment from the Federation to make sure they have the tools to do it.

“All farmers who commit to the programme will be playing their part in training the next generation of farmers, vital when the average age of dairy farmers is increasing, and we have up to a 20 per cent migrant labour workforce,” Chris said.

“Signing the Farm Charter also allows employers to positively differentiate themselves from other prospective employers and draw in apprentices who are dedicated to pursuing a career in dairy, not just a job.

“The Federation and Primary ITO are building a database of potential apprentices from pre- employment training, high schools and trade academies as well career changers. We will play a role in putting those motivated people in touch with an employer who really wants them.”

Source: Federated Farmers

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