Dairy apprentice scheme launched
A new dairy apprenticeship scheme aims to get the country’s best and brightest people onto farms and lift the level of quality of workers in the industry.
The programme was developed together by Federated Farmers and PrimaryITO.
It launched in Hamilton last week.
Federated Farmers Dairy group chairman Chris Lewis said a three-year programme had been designed with PrimaryITO to reflect the needs of both farmers and employees.
The first year would be a pilot of the scheme and would take place in the country’s main dairy regions.
Students would start the scheme in entry level positions such as a dairy assistant with the goal of turning them into skilled, competent herd managers.
‘‘After three years we want them to be a great herd manager.’’
Some of the more talented students may even leapfrog to a farm manager’s position and from there, transition to sharemilking, he added.
‘‘Hopefully some of them will be the farm owners of the future.’’
While the apprenticeship is designed for three years, applicants learned at their own speed.
They earn while they learn and will grow their skills on the job.
‘‘We are not an employment scheme, but we will help people along the way looking for employment.’’
On the employer side, Federated Farmers would identify employers equipped to offer a quality work environment and support the on-job training and development of apprentices.
A farm charter had also been created, which employers and employees had to follow.
This would also provide oversight for the programme.
The charter had conditions such as providing a supportive and satisfying working environment, fully compliant employment agreements with staff including keeping time and wage records ad well as a fully functional health and safety system.
Apprenticeship education was supported by PrimaryITO and employees earn credits for completing core skills such as fencing, animal health and dairy hygiene.
The scheme was open to any dairy farm employers who employed staff, including sharemilkers.
‘‘We want to make sure that dairy farming is an attractive rewarding career for everyone,’’ Lewis said.
‘‘We want people, when they leave the scheme after three years to have an apprenticeship certificate on their CV, they have completed some skilled training and it will be recognised by employers out there.’’
PrimaryITO recruited the apprentices and arranged the formal training towards the NZQArecognised qualifications.
They would also support the apprenticeship through regular farm visits to ensure everything is on-track and providing extra assistance as needed.
A new dairy apprenticeship scheme has been launched to improve the calibre of people in the industry.