Monday, 18 October 2021 13:55

More youth funded into sheep and beef careers

Written by  Staff Reporters
B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor. B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) have signed a funding agreement with the Growing Future Farmers (GFF) Essential Farm Skills Programme, helping attract and train more young people in the red meat sector.

The GFF Programme offers a range of specialised industry training and development opportunities across the country including formal New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) qualifications.

The agreement will give enrolled learners a boost of $500 each in 2021. GFF will also receive a cash injection of $25,000 towards running the programme.

“The future success of our industry relies on attracting talented and motivated young people and equipping them with the skills to be successful,” says B+LNZ’s chief executive Sam McIvor.

“Farmers have told us how important building the next generation is to them and emphasised that they wanted us to focus on initiatives that would build practical capability behind the farm gate, so B+LNZ is implementing that approach.”

GFF chairman John Jackson welcomes B+LNZ’s support as a significant step in the growth and development of the GFF programme.

“The success of this initiative is very much dependent on support from wider industry participants as it relies on our Farmer Trainers who sponsor our students in the workplace as they learn.

“Currently, we have 45 student trainees on farms throughout New Zealand and are expecting to start a further 70 first year students in February 2022,” says Jackson.

Wairarapa’s Palliser Ridge currently has two GFF students. Farm manager and director Kurt Portas says the programme is a good transition for school leavers into the industry and sets them up well for their farming future.

“At Palliser Ridge, we’ve been involved with the GFF programme since its inception. There is some great agricultural training happening all over the country, but we need more of it and at a larger scale to keep our industry thriving. There’s a lot of experience sitting out there in farm businesses ready to be shared. We’ve definitely enjoyed challenging ourselves, and found the programme to have benefits for both us and out students,” says Portas.

The funding is part of B+LNZ’s commitment to investing in and supporting the growing, training and retaining of people in the red meat sector.

“As well as having our own initiatives, B+LNZ collaborates with and provides funding support for other sector organisations to attract, train and retain the talent we need to drive the sector forward,” says McIvor.

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