Adrian Beattie readily admits it can often be hard for new entrants to the dairy industry to have a social life.
The 20-year-old apprentice is in his second season on a 710-cow dairy farm at Ohaupo near Te Awamutu.
Prior to moving to the Waikato, he spent a year on a dairy farm milking 2500 cows in Rotorua.
“A lot of young people, especially those working on larger dairy farms, struggle to find a good work-life balance,” he said.
It’s hoped a new partnership between PrimaryITO and NZ Young Farmers (NZYF) will provide an incentive to get off the farm.
The education provider has this year offered 75 of its students a NZ Young Farmers membership.
Fifty of those students, like Adrian Beattie, are undertaking dairy apprenticeships through Federated Farmers.
“I think it’s a great initiative. The free membership will motivate people to be social and grow their support network,” he said.
“It’s a perfect fit. The apprenticeship has been amazing for my professional development. I’m constantly learning and setting new goals.”
Adrian is a member of Te Kawa West Young Farmers.
It’s one of almost 80 NZYF clubs around the country which hold regular meetings and social events, skills days and leadership workshops.
Recent research by Farmstrong found social activities run by NZYF clubs have a positive impact on members’ wellbeing.
“We find if young people on farms don’t have a connection to their community and make friends in their first couple of years, we tend to lose them,” said Anna Yarndley from PrimaryITO.
“Being able to offer the membership and get them into a club and supported will not only improve their work-life balance, but help retain talent in the industry.”
Hamish Macaulay-Burke, 27, works for Coombes Farms, which peak milks 1900 cows across two farms at Ngahinapouri.
The former Wellington resident started a dairy apprenticeship earlier this year and has also been given a NZYF membership.
“The apprenticeship is awesome, it’s helping me to learn new skills. But this will enable me to meet other like-minded people. I’m really looking forward to heading along to my first club meeting,” he said.
“I can see this initiative being extremely beneficial for young people working on smaller farms where it’s just them and their employer.”
NZ Young Farmers hopes to implement similar partnerships with other corporates over the next 12 months.