[5 October/ Stuff]

The Federated Farmers dairy apprenticeship scheme launched in Hamilton has spurred heavy interest. At the Christchurch launch, Federated Farmers Dairy Group Chairman Chris Lewis said the first year would be a pilot of the scheme and would take place in the country’s leading dairy regions. Students would start the three-year scheme in entry-level positions like a dairy assistant with the aim of becoming a competent herd manager. The programme was initiated due to the industry operating in a labour deficit, which negatively impacts current workers. Primary ITO General Manager Sustainability and Operational Support Anne Haira said issues are around how the industry attracts people as there are many misconceptions and stereotypes to tackle. Mr Lewis said the industry needs people with motivation and skill to add value, with a skill set that drives the industry forward. Primary ITO plans to recruit 200 potential dairy apprentices in the next year.