A new partnership to try and help solve the labour shortage gap for rural contractors in both NZ and the UK has recently been established.
The programme – sponsored by MPI – recognises trainee contactors who excel in the HanzonJobs mentoring initiative. The aim is to support trainees in becoming skilled agricultural machinery operators, while also building a detailed record of their training and work experience.
The programme will include two awards that recognise two trainee contractors – one each from the North and South Islands – with both receiving a trophy and study bursary worth $3,000, sponsored by MPI.
“This new programme aims to make a difference for our trainee contractors,” RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen explains. “Working with HanzonJobs, the programme gives us the opportunity to showcase the upcoming talent in the sector and hits home the value of incorporating training into businesses.”
Richard Houston, founder of HanzonJobs, says his team is encouraged by the effort put into the mentoring initiative by trainees across the country.
“Trainees have signed up for the mentoring and we’re stoked with the effort and dedication they’ve put into this season and how supportive their employers have been.”
Beth Davie, MPI’s workforce manager, says helping the food and fibre sector to attract and retain workers is a key goal in the Fit for a Better World roadmap and Opportunity Grows Here campaign.
RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen
“The new reward and recognition programme is a great way to acknowledge and celebrate trainee contractors who excel in their work,” she adds. “They’ll play a vital role in attracting and mentoring future trainees.”
A trio of judges for awards has been appointed by RCNZ. It consists of Peter Ettema, director of MPI’s regional economic development group, Kyle Baxter of machinery importer and retailer Norwood and TAMA president, alongside Emily Hawker – HR & safety manager at Waipounamu Contracting Ltd in Southland.
Conditions of entry require trainee contractors to have enrolled in the HanzonJobs programme and have had their employer/mentor complete their mid and end-of-year reviews.
A shortlist of eight trainee contractors – four each from the North and South Islands – will be determined from data at HanzonJobs, along with mid and end-of-year reports provided by contractors for their trainees. These reports must return the equivalent of an “excellent” score in work tasks.
Each shortlisted trainee will meet (via Zoom) the judging panel for 20 minutes to answer three questions provided in advance. No trainee contractors working in the sector outside the programme will be eligible to enter.