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Rural Contractors support career kiosks

RCNZ is supporting the use of modern technology to encourage and educate the next generation into career paths and to help spotlight rural contracting as an option

Following an inspirational address by philanthropist Peter Doake, the Rural Contractors NZ board confirmed its support of his far-reaching programme to provide school pupils with access to state-of-the-art kiosks spelling out career choices.

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Marlborough-based Peter tours the Careers Coach around schools and made a special stop at the recent Nelson RCNZ conference.

More than 40,000 students participate in the Careers Coach across 200 New Zealand schools every tour. Inside the Careers Coach, students have the opportunity to watch documentaries showcasing industries, educational institutions, and entrepreneurial New Zealanders.

More lately, the kiosks are being provided to schools. The RCNZ Board plans to support four kiosks in schools, costing $20,000 plus GST for a year, which includes coverage in the up to  50 kiosks in schools and in the Careers Coach.

RCNZ CEO Roger Parton says the organisation also needs to produce a video about rural contracting, probably covering both agrichemical application and rural contracting.  

“As an industry, we’ve been talking for a number of years about the issues of getting young people into the industry and the lack of interest by careers advisers in schools for our industry. These kiosks talk to the students in their own technology and terms,” he says.

RCNZ is also working with its ITO Connexis and Work and Income to run two ‘boot camp’ courses for 18-year-old plus beneficiaries to give them 10 days of life skills and introductions to farm machinery, chemicals, and health and safety.

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“It’s planned to run one in the North Island and another in the South Island, hopefully before the end of this year.”

Both of these moves reflect the fact that the biggest challenge for rural contractors is finding enough skilled machinery operators for the spring-autumn season. Nearly 150 workers look set to arrive this season from overseas – mostly Ireland and the UK – to work for 47 RCNZ members around the country (see the new RCNZ website ruralcontractors.org.nz).

Roger says you can only get these workers under the AIP scheme if you’re an RCNZ member – one of the membership benefits, along with access to a range of employment, training, compliance, and communications advice.

RCNZ also offers assistance with finding suitable staff, an accreditation programme for Registered Contractors and Chemical Applicators and a range of other benefits.

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