The current market for Junior Dairy Farm staff is becoming increasingly difficult. Since Starting with Trinity in October 2022, I have had the privilege of speaking to clients and candidates about what works and what doesn't on farms for junior staff members.
First of all, starting a career in the dairy industry can be hard. Early mornings, long days, increased amount of time in the milking shed. These 3 things are deterring a lot of junior staff from sticking around. Yes, there is a lot of hard work involved in dairy farming but the reward is great and the opportunities to progress in the industry are fantastic! If we can support our junior staff to stick around, the knock on effect of this would be substantial.
Primary ITO is a great start for a lot of junior staff, and a real draw card when their employer supports them to access these courses. The programme does require time away from farm during rostered days on and it is a financial investment, however if apprenticeship courses like these can focus your staff and encourage them to grow in the industry then it is a financial investment that is going to increase the happiness and knowledge base of your staff, and allow them to understand WHY and HOW the day-to-day tasks they need to perform are so important to the running of the farm.
Some of our clients at Trinity have shared to us that to increase staff happiness they allow their staff to sleep in most days during the morning milking. It takes time for the body to get used to early mornings, so Dairy Farmers have found that by letting junior staff slowly adapt to the life on farm, it increases the overall happiness and staff retention. So if farmers can allow for more flexibility in milking rosters during the transition to dairy farming life, it could allow for a smoother entry and adjustment period for junior staff.
Second to this is allowing some time away from the milking shed. Dairy farming is centered around milking times, however, especially for junior staff, time away from the milking shed is incredibly important. Spending a lot of time in the shed can be incredibly draining and mind numbing for junior staff. The time away from shed could be utilized to gain knowledge in other areas and, therefore, would make junior staff more enthusiastic to turn up for work and dedicated to their job.
To keep this short, I will finish by mentioning that good junior staff are very hard to come by in this market. My observations through being in the dairy industry myself and now being a recruiter for the industry are that we need to be providing more support to junior dairy staff to grow and progress. It doesn't take much to make people feel appreciated and supported, the little things go a long way. Lets grow the industry by supporting the juniors.
- Josie Treffry, Agricultural Recruitment Consultant at Trinity