Workforce Innovation Sprint helps tackle food and fibre workforce issues

Over the past five weeks, Ministry of Awesome has had the pleasure of working with four teams from various NZ food and fibre sector companies to develop new ideas aimed at tackling workforce issues facing the sector, as part of the Workforce Innovation Sprint supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries.The teams had the opportunity to present their ideas in Wellington today. 

We’d like to acknowledge the awesome engagement from the teams involved and the ideas they’ve developed during the sprint, and the support from Dairy Careers, DairyNZ, Zespri, T&G Global, and many more.

Meet the teams 

Team 1

Trina Moore from Dairy Careers, Anthony Martin from Agstaff, and Katherine DeWitt from DairyNZ formed. Team 1 to tackle the challenge of attracting the right people into the food and fibres sector and giving farmers and growers the confidence in New Zealand’s labour market and retaining Kiwis?”

The team proposed industry-wide promotion of the food and fibres sector, along with lifestyle and career opportunities. Their approach includes helping employers to boost the image of the sector, as well as help career changers to transition smoothly into different food and fibres sectors. They’ll also focus on pastoral care and upskilling to retain talent.

Team 2

Team 2 consists of Gavin Gilbert, Bryn Price, and Warner Cottrell from AgTraining, and Jack Macfarlane from RaboBank.

This proposed project is looking at creating a transitional programme which takes inner city youth to farms, to help them experience rural life and open their minds to working on the farm. A pilot project will attract youth from key Christchurch schools to train and place into employment.  It’ll also connect them to local support networks. 

Team 3

Team 3 of Nicola Anderson from the Ministry for Social Development, Toni Trusler from No8 HR, and Alysha Howard from T&G Global

Team 3 is working on an idea that encourages Kiwis to take pride in New Zealand’s food and fibres sector to  boost their perceptions, and ultimately lead them to employment in the sector. This solution will foster vibrant rural communities, boost employee retention, and provide much needed resourcing for employers. The team will hone their efforts on those who have underutilised skills.

Team 4

Team 4 is made up of Hamish Gow from Massey University, Hiraina Tangiora from the Ministry for Primary Industries, and Jessie Bong, Munazza Saeed, and Brooke Maddison from Zespri.

This team is tackling the problem of attracting new talent in the food and fibres sector and is looking at how we can create a strong workforce of professional employees.

The team is proposing: 

1) A seasonal cooperative programme focusing on university students which creates pathways into the industry and a seasonal workforce. 

2) An industry-wide professional development programme which is designed for non-university students.

3) A degree apprenticeship programme built around industry training and competency programs.