With almost one in six jobs in New Zealand and over 70% of product exports dependent on the Primary Industries, there is an unequivocal need for skilled employees to make this happen.
Some indications from the farming sector are that concerns over skills and recruitment of skilled employees is decreasing although remaining in the top 10 concerns. Anecdotally this is still a big concern.
The number of farmers who took part in the survey is not sufficient to provide reliable quantitative data. It is aimed at providing insight into whether the graduates of the Level 3 programme achieved the aptitude and attitude as expected by employers and work experienced farmers.
There were some mixed views of what should be expected of a graduate. This was generally understood that basic skills were required. Some mentioning the additional learning that would take place in their first year of employment or level 4 study.
Even in areas where employers were asking about specific skills they would often mentioned attitude, trust, initiative. Additionally, many listed skills such as ability to listen, have to be able to trust them and adjust when things don’t do to plan. One stated that “trust, respect and work ethic are more important than knowledge”.
The results from this survey highlights the need to undertake further research with increased farmer engagement. This will enable a better understanding of farmer expectations for the quantitative (skills) versus qualitative (attitude) graduate outcomes. This in turn can provide better linkage between training providers and farmers ensuring future graduate outcomes are relevant and fit for purpose.