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Primary ITO: Knowledge to grow

News & Features

Urbanites keen for a career in dairy

2 October 2018

One in five of all people wanting to take up a dairy apprenticeship is coming from New Zealand’s biggest city, and Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons says many more will be needed where they came from.

Primary ITO (industry training organisation) and Federated Farmers are celebrating the first year of the joint Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy.

So far around 240 people have registered their interest in becoming a dairy apprentice – with over 40 of them from Auckland.

“It’s a good signal that dairying is a great career and starting out as an apprentice puts you on a premium pathway to leadership and even farm ownership,” says Dr Sissons.

The dairy farming industry needs an estimated 17,000 new workers by 2025, and Dr Sissons says with over 85 percent of New Zealanders living in urban areas, employers will be looking to the cities.

“We’re really pleased to see that Aucklanders are interested in learning to be dairy farmers. When we launched the apprenticeship programme with Federated Farmers, we wanted to encourage smart, innovative and ambitious people on to farms. One year in, it’s great that people around New Zealand are seeing the benefits of a dairy apprenticeship.

“The benefits of a dairy farming career in the regions, like affordable living and short commutes, are obvious and there are real benefits to the regions too from people joining their communities.”

At this stage, around 60 people have started apprenticeships, with the majority in Taranaki and Waikato.

“The industry needs more people and we’re committed to helping,” says Dr Sissons. “We’re working closely with Federated Farmers to identify potential apprentices and match them with the best employers. It’s a great opportunity to earn while you learn with Federated Farmers members investing in your development.”

The one-year anniversary of the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy is being celebrated in Stratford today, with Minister of Employment Willie Jackson and Federated Farmers Dairy Chair Chris Lewis. Dr Sissons says it’s particularly appropriate to have the function in Taranaki, where 18 apprentices have already started.

“It’s great that we can celebrate getting dairy apprentices on to farms in one of our dairy heartlands. Federated Farmers and Primary ITO are also seeking more funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for relationship managers to work with apprentices and employers in provincial areas. We believe this will be of real assistance to regions like Taranaki.”