Farming seen as a good career option

§ March 25th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Farming seen as a good career option

A lower dairy payout hasn’t put Taranaki high school students off farming as a career. Numbers are up by about 20 per cent on last year, Agriculture New Zealand regional manager Gerard Karalus says. 

“The dairy industry looks very positive even though the payout is down and I think there is a general feeling out there that food is going to be such and important part of our economy in the future – growing and supplying food.”
The agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries have been working with the high schools to come up with a programme that is applied science based, so it’s not pure agriculture or horticulture.
“It’s more applying science to agriculture and horticulture so that the actual science makes more sense to the students.”
There has also been more interest in agriculture and horticulture at university level, Mr Karalus says.
However, numbers are slightly down in some of the National Certificate courses.
“Part of the reason is the lower payout – farmers have either not replaced staff or are going to back to doing more of the work themselves or people are staying in their jobs and not moving on.”
Agriculture Industry Training Organisation Taranaki training co-ordinator Emma Collins says course numbers are up across the country.
A lot of people who have never done training before are studying ways to refine their production management or refine the way they run their agribusiness.
And she has seen an increase in people making career changes. Figures aren’t available, but Mrs Collins says the increase is substantial.
“A lot of these people from a farming background have gone away to get a trade and have come home to dairying again. Family farm safe option, quite a few are university graduates.”
The people have moved from trades such as butcher, mechanic, chef and engineer.
Land Based Training Taranaki operations manager Stuart Bruce has also seen an increase in the number of students who are making a career change.
The organisation, which partners with WITT, has seen a significant increase in the number of people on their training courses, Mr Bruce says.
“Because I think we provide good courses and I think the amount of employment isn’t as ready and available as it was.”
The agriculture industry is becoming more skilled and workers need more technical expertise, Mr Bruce sairs.
“People are always looking at options to upskill themselves.”