Dairy ap­pren­tice scheme launched

Franklin County News - - COUNTRY MATTERS - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

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.

PIP GUTHRIE

A new dairy ap­pren­tice­ship scheme has been launched to im­prove the cal­i­bre of peo­ple in the in­dus­try.

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