Dairy Farmers in the region are set to receive a well-earned helping hand as the result of a collaboration between TAFE NSW and Bega Cheese.
A Statement of Attainment in Relief Milking short course is being offered in semester one at TAFE NSW Bega. The aim is to teach job-ready skills in dairy operation to provide employees to give farmers a break.
Australia is the fourth largest exporter of dairy products globally. Dairy is vital to the Bega Valley, South Coast and Far South Coast, not just for employment but for its contribution to national milk production levels.
TAFE NSW Animal Science and Agriculture Head Teacher Jennifer O’Donnell said the short course had a proven track record among local job seekers.
Above: Dairy Farmer from Brogo - Jessica Pearce
“There are people who completed this nine-day-course years ago and are still working in the industry,” Ms O’Donnell said.
“You can enrol now to start the course on 15 February and could potentially have a job in the local dairy industry by the end of the month.”
Bega Cheese and TAFE NSW work to connect participants with farmers who need more employees.
It’s an example of how TAFE NSW works with businesses, including Harley-Davidson, PWC, Woolworths, Cisco and Telstra to tailor training.
Brogo dairy farmer Jessica Pearce works on one of the region’s larger farms, Sunnyside, milking 300 head.
She is progressing her career in farming. Last year she graduated from Certificate III in Agriculture and is looking forward to semester one, continuing in Certificate IV in Agriculture at TAFE NSW Bega.
“I love being a dairy farmer. I enjoy being outdoors, like the flexibility and love learning. We’re always learning such a wide variety of qualifications and skills at TAFE NSW and on the farm,” Ms Pearce said.
Sunnyside is a family-owned farm and while she enjoys the variety, she is very aware of how important it is for the local dairy industry to increase its workforce.
“There is always a need for more people to work on local farms. Finding the time to take a break is one of the hard parts of this industry. Local dairy farms need a mix of casual and full time employees.”
In the past the Relief Milking short course had been popular with a mix of people, from the long-term unemployed and school leavers, through to those looking for a couple of hours work a week to help local farmers.
Participants will be taught skills in safety, milking management, quad bike operation and electric fencing.
Bega Cheese Senior Milk Supply officer Roger Went said people want skills. “They want to be employable and this is an industry where you can learn a lot of different skills,” Mr Went said.
“After enrolling on or before 15 February, the following nine days will involve a classroom session in the mornings and then out on farms for hands-on experience each afternoon. For those who want to take their agriculture career further, TAFE NSW Bega and TAFE Digital offer courses in Agriculture. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.