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Attracting skilled labour for dairy

The dependency on skilled labour and attracting people to a career in dairy continues to be a priority with an additional 800 employees needed on Australian dairy farms by 2023.

This statistic is in-line with an increase in farms with 6 or more employees across the industry from 4 per cent to 20 per cent by 2025.

Dairy Australia Managing Director Dr David Nation said, attracting and retaining people on dairy farms is an ongoing challenge.

“The evolution of the industry and the trend towards larger farms places greater demand on labour, but also provides opportunities for those interested in agriculture to forge a successful career.

“The need for skilled labour is also increasing with the use of technology, the need to monitor farm inputs, animal care, milk quality, managing environmental credentials, and other aspects of dairy.

“Farmers are making a clear statement about the need to attract more young people to dairy, and this was further highlighted at recent consultation workshops for the Australian Dairy Plan, a 5-year strategic plan for the dairy industry.”

Dr Nation said starting the conversation about careers in dairy when young people are starting to think about their future while at school is absolutely key.

“Schools programs such as Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers has seen more than 15,000 young people in regional locations learn more about what a career in dairy can offer.

“It’s important that we show the diversity of career pathways and highlight the opportunity to be successful working in dairy.

“And for those who choose to either develop skills or build on existing skills in dairy, there is opportunity created through partnerships with TAFEs and other registered training providers, with Dairy Australia contributing to the development of courses for those people pursuing a career in dairy.

“Whether its education on milking, farm systems, animal care or farm management, ensuring education providers are armed with the right resources to support people starting a career or advancing skills for those already in dairy, is really important.

“Once in the industry ensuring young people feel connected and supported through strong networks and skills building, is key to retention.

“Over 2,500 young people have been able to connect through the Dairy Australia Young Dairy Network, providing access to training for both the technical and non-technical aspects of dairy.

“People are at the heart of our industry and are what make the industry a great one – attracting people to the industry by presenting the many career pathways and providing opportunity to build skills, is a continued priority.”

For those interested in a career in dairy and for resources to support farmers in recruiting and retaining people on farms visit:

This article was published in Leading Agriculture.

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