One in five of those interested in becoming a dairy apprentice hails from Auckland.

The Primary Industry Training Organisation and Federated Farmers are celebrating the first year of the joint Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy Programme.

The pilot programme supported by MBIE, the PrimaryITO and Federated Farmers, was launched last year with the intention of finding more New Zealanders interested in working in the dairy industry on farm, and keen to upskill into a farming career.

A third of the 240 who have signed up are women and just under half are in a career already, but want a change.


Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons told Kate Hawkesby on Newstalk ZB it's an interesting phenomenon. She says it's a big decision to decide to go and work on a dairy farm - and likewise for an employer to take on an apprentice.

Listen to Linda Sissons talk to Kate Hawkesby below:

The dairy sector contributes $7.8 billion to New Zealand's GDP and plays a crucial role in supporting regional economic development but unfortunately the New Zealand labour market hasn't keep place with the growth of the dairy market says Federated Farmers.

"In dairy farming a good employment workplace will have rosters, modern payroll systems, competitive wages, good houses available to rent - unlike in the city - positive, encouraging employers and lots more," Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Lewis says.

"In New Zealand we have a strong economy in rural and city, so let's make sure dairy farming as a career is well regarded and attractive so we can get more young Kiwis working outside on our farms with no Auckland traffic issues, and the only peak hour traffic they experience is taking the herd to the cowshed."

More information on New Zealand's dairy exports:

•New Zealand accounts for 3 per cent of total world production
•New Zealand exports about 95 per cent of its dairy production
•New Zealand exported NZ$12.4 billion worth of dairy products in the year ending June 2016
•The top five markets for New Zealand dairy exports are: China, United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan
•New Zealand's top four dairy export products are: whole milk powder (37 per cent), cheese (12 per cent), skim milk powder (10 per cent), and butter (9 per cent)