Bookings for premium wine tours “vanished” when New Zealand’s borders closed, say operators struggling under Covid-19.
The 2020 GoDairy programme, backed by $3.5 million in Government funding, aims to help Covid-19 affected workers into farming careers. Read more about the programme here.
"This is a win:win for New Zealanders who want to work on the land and farmers who need to fill workforce gaps made worse by the pandemic restrictions," says Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis.
DairyNZ, with support from the Ministries for Primary Industries and Social Development, is offering a free three-week introductory course that is open to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.
The mix of online and practical on-farm training covers the basics of staying safe while working with animals, farm vehicles and machinery.
"Dairying is not an easy job. It’s increasingly technical, requires a range of skills and at certain times of the season is quite hectic," says Lewis.
"But it’s also hugely satisfying for those who take to it and as the recent Federated Farmers Rabobank Remuneration Survey showed, it pays well. Across nearly 1700 respondents, the mean salary for a dairy farm assistant was $48,584, for an assistant manager $62,317 and for a farm operations manager, $85,986."
Federated Farmers dairy industry chairperson Wayne Langford says for those who find their feet through the GoDairy introductory training, a next step could be the Federated Farmers dairy apprenticeship.
"I’d encourage anyone who enjoys animals and outdoors work to think about this opportunity. I’ve worked my way up from dairy assistant to farm owner and it’s been a great lifestyle for myself and my family," says Langford.