Dairy needs more skilled labour

Milking the career market to find dairy's labour needs


Attracting skilled labour is a priority for the dairy industry


At least 800 more employees will be needed on Australian dairy farms by 2023.

The statistic highlights the industry's dependence on skilled labour and its priority need for people to seek out careers in dairying.

Farms with six or more employees are expected to rise from four per cent to 20pc by 2025.

Dairy Australia managing director, Dr David Nation, said attracting and retaining people on dairy farms was an ongoing challenge.

It's important we show the diversity of career pathways and highlight the opportunity to be successful working in dairy - David Nation, Dairy Australia

"The evolution of the industry and the trend towards larger farms places greater demand on labour," he said.

"It 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 were making a clear statement about the need to attract more young people to dairy.

This was further highlighted at recent consultation workshops for the Australian Dairy Plan, a five-year strategic plan for the dairy industry.

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

"Schools programs such as Dairy Australia's Cows Create Careers have seen more than 15,000 young people in regional locations learn more about what a career in dairy can offer," he said.

Dr David Nation

Dr David Nation

"It's important 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 felt connected and supported through strong networks and skills building were keys to retention.

"More than 2500 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," Dr Nation said.

"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 an opportunity to build skills are continued priorities."

  • For those interested in a career in dairy and for resources to support farmers in recruiting and retaining people on farms visit: www.thepeopleindairy.org.au

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