Farmers are putting their hands up to assist the next generation.

Geraldine High School primary industry department head Sarah Foley-Smith talks to reporter Alexia Johnston about the growth among farmers and rural-based businesses wanting to invest in youth.

Trends are showing an increasing number of employers in the primary industry sector are offering work to youngsters.

Geraldine High School primary industry department head Sarah Foley-Smith has a list of companies and farm managers keen to be a part of the high school's primary industry course by offering work experience opportunities.


Mt Somers Station, Mt Peel Station, Peel Forest Estate, equine expert Phillippa Thompson and Port Blakely are among those who are providing work to pupils once a week, throughout the year. The year-long programme meant participants could experience the industry in all seasons.

Pupils are matched with a rural-based business close to their home.

"They basically go out one day a week for a year, for whatever industry [they choose] and work in a work experience [capacity] with whatever the farmer is doing that day."

Mrs Foley-Smith said the support from those businesses was overwhelming, with more putting their hands up to help.

As a result, there were now more rural-based businesses offering support than there were pupils to take up those opportunities.

Part of the initial process involved the pupils making contact with potential work placement locations.

"They have to find their own farmer [or business], which is quite good because there's a whole lot of skills involved in [the process]."

Some of the people who had welcomed pupils this year were returning to the programme as a result of previous success.


Some logging crews were even going so far as to pick up pupils when convenient, to get them to the job for that day.

"[Pupils] love it. It [provides them with] great variety and they like being treated as adults and doing something that's helpful."