Media release

Federated Farmers Apprenticeship launches

September 29, 2017

Federated Farmers and Primary ITO have teamed up on an exciting new apprenticeship to rapidly grow people capability in the dairy industry.

The Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy will be launched as a pilot in selected regions. It will be showcased throughout the country from Monday 2 October, starting with Hamilton, followed by Wellington (Tuesday), Christchurch (Wednesday) and Invercargill (Thursday).

Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group Chairperson Chris Lewis says, "We are delighted to be working alongside Primary ITO, the training organisation for the primary industries, to support our Federated Famers employers to gain motivated and capable staff for their farms."

Both Federated Farmers and Primary ITO have key roles to play in supporting the apprenticeship. "We’re both playing to our strengths and it’s a great fit," says Chris.

Federated Farmers will identify dairy farm employers and ensure they are equipped to offer a quality work environment, while actively supporting the on-job training and development of their apprentice.

"We are supporting our employers with the development of a Farm Charter, which reinforces the goals of the Sustainable Dairying: Workplace Action Plan, and resources that underpin the best on-job training, career development and support for their apprentice. The professional development of the employer is also an important aspect of the Farm Charter - they will learn and grow throughout the apprenticeship too," says Chris.

Primary ITO will recruit the apprentices and arrange the formal training towards the NZQA-recognised qualifications. They will also support the apprenticeship through regular farm visits to ensure everything is on-track, providing extra assistance as needed.

Primary ITO Chief Executive Dr Linda Sissons says, "Through the apprenticeship we want to recruit bright and motivated New Zealanders onto our dairy farms and show everyone what a great career choice dairy farming is. Our apprentices will have the opportunity to work and learn in an exciting and innovative environment, with an increasing focus on technology, as well as to be a part of their local farming community."

Linda says career development is also a focus of the apprenticeship. "We want our apprentices to grow their careers and to put them on the track to leadership through clearly identified pathways and support. We have ambitious aims for them - we want them to become farm managers and owners one day."

The target for the pilot is for around 200 Federated Farmers apprentices on-farm across New Zealand over the coming months.

The apprenticeship is made up of formal training and qualifications, and upskilling through on-job training that aligns with farmers’ requirements and regional needs, over three years.

By providing a new pathway and linking it with employers motivated to demonstrate and develop their people management skills, the partner organisations hope to increase both the capacity and the capability of new entrants to the industry and to reduce reliance on migrant labour.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has estimated that New Zealand will need an extra 50,000 qualified workers in the primary sector in the next eight years.

The initiative is supported through the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP).

Register your interest in the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship - either as an employer or apprentice online now at

For more information from Federated Farmers, contact Nick Hanson, Industry Policy Manager, on [email protected] or call 027 705 3937.
For more information from Primary ITO please contact Hayley Weel, Communications Adviser, on [email protected] or call 04 382 2859.