Trainees well placed
Giving students a chance to live and work on a Kiwi farm is everyday business for Job Bruins.
Mr Bruins is managing director of Marvin Farm Services in Matamata, a position he’s held for the past nine years.
‘‘They come here for various reasons but there’s always a good one: For a gap year, or because they need to have so many years’ practical experience for their diplomas and they choose New Zealand, or they come after they’ve finished college before going back to the home farm to get some knowledge.’’
He also receives requests from farmers around the country, looking for willing workers to fill a temporary position on the farm.
Referring to an enormous board covered with names and photographs, Mr Bruins matches each applicant to a well-suited farm.
‘‘They have to be an asset to the farming operation. It’s not a holiday; it’s a working holiday.’’
Most of the applicants are from abroad – predominantly from England and Ireland, and also Canada, Holland, Denmark and France – but the service is also offered to Kiwis.
Rebecca Turner, originally from Yorkshire, got involved with the Marvin scheme nine years ago with a placement to complete her agriculture degree. She came back for five months last year and now holds a fulltime position on a farm in Te Poi.
‘‘It’s a brilliant way to get used to the dairy industry in this country and I’ve made some really good friends,’’ she said.
‘‘Marvin is a really good scheme for people from overseas, because they take care of everything.’’
When Ms Turner first arrived in New Zealand, she had never even milked a cow. During her placements, she worked at more than six farms from Otorohanga to Feilding and learned everything she needed to know.
‘‘The farmers that take on Marvin staff are so good to you. They are happy to teach and you become part of their family, really,’’ she said.
‘‘That’s one of the great things about New Zealand, people are willing to help.’’ About 80 to 100 people go through Marvin every year but Mr Bruins said they could do with more.
‘‘There’s a lot of demand but it’s about getting a good number of the right staff. If we don’t have staff we can’t run, we’re like a shop with nothing on the shelves.’’
He said they were quite selective with who they allowed in to the scheme and looked for certain qualities.
‘‘They need to have good papers, good character and ideally, practical experience on a farm,’’ he said.
‘‘Dairy farming is not for the faint of heart. It’s a good job and there’s good money to be made but you have to know what discipline is. It means that every day, 5 o’clock, it’s cups on.’’
Mr Bruins came to New Zealand from Holland with his wife Door 35 years ago and they set up just outside Matamata as orchardists.
They later owned a shop in town, then bought Marvin Farm Services from previous owner Barry Hazlehurst ‘‘when we were looking for another adventure’’.
‘‘Unfortunately, Barry passed away earlier this month of a heart