Training scheme sees Aucklanders ditch city life for the farm


New figures show many city dwellers are looking to trade in the office for the milking shed.

Primary industry training organisation (ITO) and Federated Farmers are marking one year of the joint Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy scheme.

So far around 240 people have registered their interest in becoming a dairy apprentice, with over 40 of them from Auckland.

Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons says the figures are encouraging.

"We're really pleased to see that Aucklanders are interested in learning to be dairy farmers," Dr Sissons said. 

"When we launched the apprenticeship programme, we wanted to encourage smart, innovative and ambitious people on to farms," she said.

At this stage, around 60 people have started apprenticeships - the majority of which are in Taranaki and Waikato.

The dairy farming industry needs an estimated 17,000 new workers by 2025, and Dr Sissons says with over 85 percent of New Zealanders living in urban areas, employers will be looking to the cities.

"The benefits of a dairy farming career in the regions, like affordable living and short commutes, are obvious - and there are real benefits to the regions too from people joining their communities," she said

The one-year anniversary of the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy is being celebrated in Stratford on Tueday, with Minister of Employment Willie Jackson and Federated Farmers Dairy Chair Chris Lewis. 

Dr Sissons says it's particularly appropriate to have the function in Taranaki, where 18 apprentices have already started.