The dairy industry is making another push to attract workers to staff-strapped farms.
Hailing from Tauranga, Ashlee has moved to Taupo for a role as a farm assistant and is excited by her new career. She says she is relishing getting stuck in helping out with calving.
“It’s been great to get into the work and learn more on the job. I definitely see a future for myself in dairy farming,” she said. “I didn’t grow up on a farm but my mum did and she always loved it. I love working with animals.”
Ashlee attended one week of online training and two weeks of practical training as part of DairyNZ’s GoDairy campaign to attract and train people for the dairy sector. There are 1000 jobs up for grabs throughout the country and Kiwis are needed on farm now.
DairyNZ people team leader Jane Muir said the training is aimed at new recruits to the sector, including people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. It is attracting people from a wide range of backgrounds including tourism marketing, tour guiding and catering, to engineering and finance. Others include shop assistants, property managers, casual workers and construction.
The Farm Ready Training is designed to give people a taste for farm life to help them decide if working in the dairy sector is right for them. It also provides basic skills to support trainees into entry-level positions.
“The training was really awesome and helped me realise a farm job was right for me. I learnt how to handle cows, including making them feel comfortable around me. The training gave me a good understanding of working with cows,” says Ashlee.
“The vehicle training was great too. I learned how to ride a motorbike and drive a tractor on farm. It was great to see the focus on safety and I learnt a lot too.”
Ashlee took part in the first week of practical training, the pilot session held in Hamilton. There are now more than 300 registrations in the GoDairy Farm Ready Training with training taking place in regions nationwide.
Muir said it was great to see people getting a lot out of the training, with many confirming for themselves they are keen on a career in the dairy sector.
“We know people are getting jobs after completing the training, including roles as dairy farm assistants and calf rearers. We are getting good interest from farmers wanting to hire career changers which is really positive.”
Trainees are provided with skills about finding a good job, including what to look for, and shown where farmers advertise, such as job websites and word of mouth.
They are encouraged to list on job websites and state they have completed the Farm Ready Training. Ashlee secured her job after advertising herself on Farm Source Jobs.
Muir said DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to advertise on Farm Source Jobs, TradeMe, Keep New Zealand Working (an MSD jobs portal) and Work the Seasons saying they are open to career changers and those who have completed Farm Ready Training.