A Whanganui company is embracing a challenging role to produce an ongoing steady stream of workers for the New Zealand dairy industry, which is struggling for skilled staff.
Since its inception as the Ag Challenge more than 30 years, the newly named AGC Training has been in the game of teaching students the art of agriculture and other trades to provide a steady stream of graduates to join the workforce as skilled staff.
Now the dairy industry has found itself struggling to unearth skilled workers on a steady basis.
Dairy New Zealand is promoting careers in dairying and has developed the Go Dairy website, a promotion that AGC Training fully supports. Links to its available courses are on this website.
The Go Dairy website urges: "Do something that matters. Improve lives, nurture animals, enhance the environment and design the future in a dairy career."
All dairy careers make New Zealand's dairy sector world leading. As one of New Zealand's largest employers, the dairy sector needs motivated and passionate people to make a difference in the world.
That's where AGC Training steps in.
The company's Milk Harvesting L3 course is specifically designed for today's environment.
During Covid-19 lockdown, AGC Training was able to continue as an essential service and adapted that particular course to offer it online.
That option continues today.
Dairy farm workers can complete the Milk Harvesting course alongside their farm work with online study and visits from an AGC Tutor/field officer to ensure everything remains on track.
The traditional study options in the classroom and two dairy farms dedicated to the cause for practical lessons also remain available.
AGC Training owner and longtime dairy farmer Stephen Gudsell is sold on the dairy industry as a viable, exciting career option, not only for the younger school-leaving set, but also the older student looking to change career post-Covid.
"Milk harvesting, especially, is a career that offers so much," Gudsell said.
"Dairy farmers are always on the lookout for someone to take over at milking time when they need a break. A qualified relief milker can step in and do the job and then is free between say 9am and 3pm to do whatever they want – even another job. Not many jobs are that flexible.
"Dairy farming is a lifestyle. You get to work with animals and work outdoors – it's healthy and can act as a springboard to other careers," Gudsell said.
The Milk Harvesting course begins next month and AGC Training's rolling intake policy allows potential students the chance to enrol at any time throughout the year.