Words by: Hugh Jackson

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in delivering GoDairy’s free Farm Ready Training through my role as a trainee consulting officer at DairyNZ.

The three-week training programme was launched in June and offers Kiwis who have had their employment affected by Covid-19 the chance to get into a dairy career. I’ve found delivering the training rewarding because I know I’m helping people into a secure career with many opportunities.

The first week is delivered online and involves videos, presentations and discussions. People from anywhere in New Zealand can join and get an introduction to see if working on a dairy farm is right for them. We provide an overview of New Zealand’s dairy sector, the technology used on farms, pasture growth, living rurally, and how to find a good job.

Many of those on the training are excited about being able to work outside and care for animals, and about the career opportunities dairy offers. I’ve really enjoyed meeting the wide range of people taking part in GoDairy. Some have grown up on farms: others have worked in sectors like hospitality, tourism, IT and many other fields. We’ve had young Kiwis participate as well as those in their thirties or forties who have families.

Through GoDairy we aim to give people a realistic view of what working on a farm is like – that there are a lot of positives but that it’s also hard work at times and it involves getting up early.

Some start the training unsure about what work on a farm involves. We get questions about the type of work done on farms, rosters, living rurally and farming terminology. After some good discussions they are ready to move on to practical training. The next two weeks cover working with animals, health and safety, and operating farm vehicles.

Some people on the training are already getting interviews and job offers from farmers. It’s great to see that GoDairy will help meet a critical need to fill roles onfarm for the calving season and beyond.

DairyNZ is working with the Government to continue offering the training in the coming months. The two weeks of practical hands-on training are being held in a number of locations to meet local demands.

If you know someone who’s keen on working on a dairy farm – or you’ve recently employed a career changer who might qualify for the training – you can visit dairynz.co.nz/godairy

  • Hugh Jackson is a DairyNZ Trainee Consulting Officer, Southland