Farmers are taking a proactive approach towards investing in the next generation.
A growing number of people across various primary industry sectors are welcoming young people on board in a work experience capacity.
That trend has pleased organisations involved in the sector, including South Canterbury Federated Farmers president Mark Adams.”It’s good to hear that that’s happening,” he said.
“I think in the past we’ve taken for granted that young people are going to gravitate to our industry. Now we’re realising we can’t take that for granted and we have to be pro-active and engaged.”
He said the latest trend was a positive one, particularly if the next generation can be encouraged to continue learning once they have started their farming careers. In some cases, the work experience being offered provides the youngsters with a chance to get out of the classroom and into the field where they might better excel.
The hands-on experience provides a synergy that “just works”, Mr Adams said.
Keith and Ruth Orange are among those who have welcomed budding young farmers on to their deer farm for work experience in the past, including a young woman who assisted throughout the winter of 2016.
“Everyone was very pleased with her,” Mrs Orange said.
“We thought it was a very worthwhile thing and I know other friends that are farming who have said the same.”
She said the key was participants had to be keen.
“They learn a lot one-on-one with various farmers in all aspects of livestock,” Mrs Orange said, of the options available to the pupils.And, some of those youngsters did not have farming backgrounds.
“A lot of the children getting the opportunity have not grown up on farms and I think it’s great we can share that if they are eager and willing to learn.”
Mrs Orange is also the South Canterbury North Otago Deer Farmers Trust treasurer.
Late last year the group gave $1000 to Briar Swanson, who had been accepted for a two-year cadetship at the Coleridge Downs Training Farm.
Miss Swanson started the cadetship last month.
She put the money towards items she needed to get started, including wet-weather gear, boots and a heading pup.
In other years, the money has assisted people taking part in the Kellogg leadership course and other deer industry learning and training courses.
A range of schools have been working to introduce pupils to primary industries, including Geraldine High School, Mountainview High School and Mackenzie College.
Aoraki Development chief executive Nigel Davenport was pleased to see farmers working with the district’s schools.
He said the engagement between schools and the primary industry sector was outstanding.
“The commitment and passion shown by the parties involved to expose, educate and excite our youth on options and opportunities in the primary sector is exactly what we are looking to replicate across all areas of local business and industry.”
Aoraki Development, via its Canterbury Mayoral Forum endorsed Youth Transition Programme, is working closely to assist more meaningful connections between local industries and the secondary schools — their students, parents, teachers and careers advisers, he said.
“The sole focus being on the needs of the student and the information they need to make that important decision as to ‘what will I do next?’.
“Our role at Aoraki Development is to assist this collaboration, as, when it all boils down, our youth are our future, so let’s all collectively help them make as fully informed decision as possible on their next stage of life, whether that be direct into a career, tertiary learning or a mix of both.”
A key piece of this was to also provide pupils with contextualised learning resources into the schools around various industries and jobs, Mr Davenport said.
“We are well aware of the great work being done by the primary industry sector by the likes of Primary ITO, NZ Young Farmers and, more recently, Ministry of Primary Industries.”
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