The Government is pumping millions into farm training as tough border measures stop the flow of migrant workers.
It’s aiming to fill 10,000 jobs in the primary sector but there is concern the approach won’t stop a looming shortage of skilled workers.
For a group of Wairarapa locals, it’s all about getting hands on down on the farm.
They’re benefiting from the huge boost from the Government to help more people get into work with the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre now funding to train 1,000 people.
“The farmers are screaming out for employees at the end of the course. They’re gonna try their hardest to get us into employment,” student Kahuranaki Potangaroa-Waiwiri said.
While the primary sector supports the course and others like it, they say it won’t help fill the need for specialist machine operators come spring.
“We can’t train people to operate from having never driven a tractor or truck or maize plater to operating that gear in three months,” Brook Nettleton from Bluegrass Contracting said.
Up to 3,000 workers are needed to fill those roles, jobs that migrant workers would usually fill.
According to Mr Nettelton, there are not enough Kiwis.
“We need to be allowed to bring in key overseas staff as essential workers.”
The Government says it’s working to help get more machinery courses running in the future but in the meantime they’ll just have to cope.