“Young people deserve the opportunity to do well within the agricultural industry. We need a strong long-term plan that aligns training through the school curriculum with practical experience on the farm,” says Dr Mackle.
“The dairy sector is no longer a ‘no options left’ career. We know how rewarding it can be working in the dairy sector – our farmers are custodians of the land and water, passionate animal lovers, and excellent business people.
“We have initiatives like the Primary Industries Capability Alliance and ‘GrowingNZ’, which promote careers in the primary sector and reach more than 60% of secondary schools and 38,000 students. But we want more of these students to choose the primary sector.
“Farming requires a positive attitude, determination, and tenacity. A young person with these qualities and a strong desire to learn on the job will find farming a satisfying career.”
Dr Mackle also noted that the major parties all had policies to attract young New Zealanders into work, and NZFirst in particular has a focus on providing jobs for New Zealanders before migrants.
“We definitely want to see more kiwi candidates in the regions where the jobs are,” says Dr Mackle.
“But until we have the kiwi’s with the right training and passion for farming, who are attracted to rural regions, we will continue to fill a genuine need with migrant workers. Migrant workers also add diversity which is particularly important for a globally focussed sector.
“By targeting the right people early on, those that want to be in farming or work in the agricultural sector, we can ensure we are feeding the future employment needs of our country’s primary sector.”
“We believe that a long-term strategy needs to be developed and supported by the future Government to make this a reality.”
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