Friday, December 8, 2023

Online and on-farm courses for the next generation

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People entering the dairy industry can now get the skills they need to succeed on farm without getting into debt.
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A training model with an innovative approach has been launched for the dairy sector to equip people new to the industry with the practical and online skills they need to succeed in the early years of employment.

Get Milking, which is powered by agricultural training organisation Agricademy, offers online and on-farm courses targeting the next generation and the way they learn.

There are no classrooms, no campuses and no student debt. The online and on-farm training is intended to provide a practical pathway from study to work and build skills quickly. This will appeal to farmers who need trained workers, and also to students who want the right skills for the dairy industry but do not want to be back in a classroom.

Get Milking courses develop the practical skills needed to operate effectively in the sheds, be part of a team, reduce costly mistakes and increase productivity.

Anyone new to the industry who wants to become a relief milker or dairy assistant can take a Get Milking online course, which includes short, professionally shot videos, so they are familiar with what to expect on a dairy farm. They are then offered on-farm training with an accredited trainer so they get practical, hands-on experience.

Managing director Alister Shennan founded Agricademy and Get Milking as he could see the industry was not getting the training it wanted and young people were not gaining the skills they needed to do well.

“There needed to be a complete re-think of agricultural training so that it works for the generation who live online and connect via social media but who also need hands-on training on farm,” he says.

He says vocational training that is classroom based does not work well for industries where practical skills are needed.

“Delivering online courses, including these task-by-task short videos, allows this next generation to access the information they need in a way they want, and they can learn from the best 24/7, at any time and anywhere. It is an innovative approach and a step forward for the way training is offered,” he says.

“We then use accredited trainers to provide practical training on the farm to build the skills needed to become a dairy assistant or a relief milker. This happens quickly without a farmer having to backfill or send workers off to classrooms.”

Get Milking courses will be delivered in Waipa by Agricademy’s first licensee, Regan McCorquindale, who grew up on a dairy farm and has his own farm consulting business, RECO.

“One of the challenges in dairy is that you’re often relying on the employer to do all the training when farming is very busy and often understaffed. People aren’t getting the training required to progress in the industry, which leads to a lot of churn,” McCorquindale says.

He says he became a licensee because the dairy industry needs the combined online and practical training Get Milking delivers.

“I think Get Milking’s online component is essential – when you come to a farm you’re familiar with the way that the cowshed works, the cupping works, the whole process from start to finish,” he says.

“That is then backed up by having a trainer come to a farm so workers are getting on-farm training in the shed that they’re most familiar with. It makes for faster learning and getting ahead in our industry”.

Shennan says Get Milking is now looking to attract great licensees in other parts of the country.

“We know that the right people grow everyone’s business, and having licensees who are connected to their community, who are passionate about dairy and training, will provide a much-needed pipeline of trained workers for the industry,” he says.

McCorquindale says the dairy industry offers many great opportunities for those willing to work hard but the rewards need to be sold to those who would enjoy it and could build a career.

“We want to see young, enthusiastic people enter our dairy industry. It’s a great place to work but we need to increase the awareness about how good the opportunities are so we get the right people wanting to be trained,” he says.

“Farm owners are giving workers who are showing enthusiasm and willingness to do the job lots of opportunities, and I want more people to know about that and come on this journey with us ,so let’s Get Milking, and make it a success story for the industry.”

Shennan says Get Milking as a name and brand was deliberately chosen to emphasise the positives about the country’s largest industry, and what it delivers for those who work in it and all New Zealanders.

Disclaimer: Dean Williamson, CEO of AgriHQ, is an Agricademy shareholder

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