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NZ Dairy: Success and Training go Hand in Hand

20 May 2009

NEW ZEALAND - Industry training is critical to success in the dairy industry, says the country’s top sharemilker.

Industry training was the common ingredient among this year’s Dairy Industry Award winners, announced at the annual Dairy Industry Awards in Wellington on Saturday, reports Agriculture ITO, a New Zealand training organisation.

The pick of the crop, selected from 32 regional finalists, were: Mark Nicholas from Whakatane (Dairy Trainee of the Year); Shane Kelly from Greymouth (Farm Manager of the Year); and Chris and Teresa Moore from Rotorua (Sharemilker of the Year). All of them are involved in Agriculture ITO training.

“Training is a critical part of success in the dairy industry,” Mr Moore said. “We’re passionate about bringing people through the industry and we see Agriculture ITO as a fantastic way of assisting our staff and ourselves to gain knowledge.

Sharemilkers of the Year Chris and Teresa Moore are both registered assessors for Agriculture ITO and members of its Central Plateau Regional Committee. They encourage all their staff to get involved in training and believe the on-farm assessment aspect of training is a real positive for employers.

“If we advertise a job and applicants can prove they have a good track record of industry training, it’s an advantage for them in the way we view them as potential employees,” said Mr Moore.

Winning his award was a great reward for his hard studying and practical work, said “over the moon” Mr Nicholas (32). He has been in the industry less than two years and is already part-way through the National Diploma in production management. He has secured a 280-cow sharemilking position beginning in June.

“Training challenges me, and has given me vision and clarity around my goals,” Mr Nicholas said. “It has helped me get where I am today and is imperative for making the next step.

“Past and present employers have also played a big role by supporting me in my training. I like to think they get a good return for their investment.”

Farm Manager of the Year Shane Kelly (39) is also a registered assessor for Agriculture ITO and works for Landcorp, which hosts local training courses.

“We’re fortunate to work with Agriculture ITO at a local level,” said Mr Kelly. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Mr Kelly has completed herd manager and production management qualifications with Agriculture ITO and all his staff are actively involved in training.

“Training is part of the industry. ITO training adds real value because it’s the only training around that’s real nuts and bolts, and that relates directly to what we do on the farm,” said Mr Kelly.

“It also caters for people at every level. One of the key things for us is that no matter who we employ on farm, we can put them into a training programme that will cater for their level and stage. They can grow with it. That’s a really big thing and it helps me be a manager. We get good results out of training and all our guys enjoy it.”

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

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