Inaugural scholarships amid worker shortage

The Tractor and Farm Machinery Association (TAMA) has awarded two inaugural scholarships as part of its moves to attract, retain, and reward skilled workers

The scholarships come at a time when the primary industry is in dire need of more workers. In October last year, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor said it was estimated the sector needed another 50,000 workers by 2025 and more than 92,000 more workers with qualifications.

“It’s even more pressing now, as the primary industry has a major role in helping New Zealand economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic fallout,” says TAMA general manager Ron Gall.

“Anything we can do as a sector to attract or retain workers is a step forward. Our industry needs people for a wide range of jobs, including working with sophisticated technology and robotics.”

The two scholarships were available to tractor and machinery industry trainees who are studying towards a certificate or diploma. One was awarded to Alice Stanbra, a parts and automotive accessories apprentice for Norwood Manawatu. She says she will use the opportunity to undertake further training for management qualifications after the completion of her apprenticeship.

The other was given to Regan Bailey who’s about to start the third year of his agricultural diesel apprenticeship with Tulloch Farm Machines in Masterton. Regan says the scholarship will give him “the confidence to continue to work hard and strive for success and knowing I have the support and backing from such an important association in our industry will give me added incentive to succeed.”

Like every other industry in New Zealand, the primary industry was facing a period of great change after the pandemic crisis ended, Ron says. “The government has indicated that it would be looking at how to build off the strengths of the primary sector such as increasing the onshore processing of goods. However, that can only happen successfully if we have skilled workers in place.”

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