Head Shepherd, Fraser Taylor, of Taihape says our Rural Staff Management programme has helped him develop the skills and knowledge he needs to supervise staff members.
“I grew up on a farm,” Fraser says. “My parents owned a farm and I always wanted to go farming, so straight after fifth form I did.”
He has been in his current role on the 21,000 ewe, 2,000 cattle farm since March last year.
“I hadn’t had much to do with staff before so it was a good idea to do Rural Staff Management as soon as I got this job because I would be dealing with staff.”
The Rural Staff Management programme is a combined package of four modules covering the latest human resources techniques, employment responsibilities and getting the best out of the farm team.
The workshops include a focus on employment agreements and job descriptions, legal responsibilities as an employer, managing staff performance, recruitment and selection, and getting communication right.
Since the programme Fraser has noticed the positive difference better communication with the team can make.
“It has been helpful,” he says. “I’ve learnt how to deal with staff and how to treat them. I’ve been using different strategies, it’s all about good communication. The legal side of the course is interesting too.
“I’m supervising three staff at the moment though there are normally four. I talk to my manager Gary Mead daily about what we’re going to do for the day and I organise the staff’s every day jobs.”
Fraser feels more confident in his role since completing the programme and anticipates that his training will help him to achieve his career goals. He has also completed his Modern Apprenticeship and his National Certificate in Agriculture, Production Management, Level 4.
“I found the feed budgeting skills in Production Management really helpful. I’m using the knowledge I’ve learned day to day,” he says. “I’d like to own my own farm one day, so I’m just trying to work my way towards that.”
Fraser’s training adviser, Marianne Farrell says that trainees who complete Rural Staff Management achieve the National Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 3).
“Fraser’s manager Gary was keen for Fraser to attend as he could see Fraser would benefit by gaining the skills to manage staff in his role. The programme runs over five days, with one day a week for five weeks in the classroom,” Marianne says. “Anyone in a rural profession who is supervising staff can attend the course. Managing the team effectively boosts motivation and inspires staff to perform at their best.”
Fraser recommends the Rural Staff Management programme to others in the industry.
“I definitely recommend it. It’s great for anyone who’s going to be stepping into a job where they’ll be dealing with staff.”