Emma Rae

West Coast Dairy Farmer – Industry Employer

Every day is different on the farm and there’s plenty of work on the Coast for people with a solid understanding of the basics, says Ngahere farmer Emma Rae.

Emma lives in the Grey Valley where her husband manages a dairy farm. The pair are helping to offer better opportunities to live and learn on the West Coast by taking on their first Tai Poutini Polytechnic Agriculture graduate.

“It’s actually getting harder and harder to find staff, with many lacking the experience needed,” Emma says. “The owners took on a young guy this year after he graduated from the TPP course. He’s the first graduate they’ve employed and he’s doing really well – we can’t fault him in the cow shed and he’s always willing to learn and take on new tasks.”

Emma says the key skills students learn in the TPP Agriculture programme help set them up for success on the job and better outcomes for everyone.

“They are just that bit more aware and they can get started from the word ‘go’. There are basic skills, like knowing how to operate an ATV bike safely, that are important. Safety is a big issue and there are potential hazards on the farm that many people wouldn’t be aware of; I know it can be a real eye-opener and if they’ve had the training you don’t have to worry about them as much.”

Emma, who also works with TPP trades students, says working alongside the polytechnic and taking on graduates is a great way of collaborating for the good of the region.

“There’s always jobs out there for willing people. A career in farming can be exciting and challenging. Every day is different and every farm is different so you’ll never be bored. I’ve worked on five farms and each one has had a different way of operating. You might be fertilising one day, fencing the next, then rolling or working on the tractor – and it all depends on the weather so your plans can change,” she says.

Once you’ve started farm work the options are endless; you begin in a junior role and can move up to 2IC, managers and share-milking or even owning your own farm. There’s also plenty of choice around sheep and beef or even horticulture.

TPP is helping to create better futures for West Coast students by working with employees to identify job opportunities and help get people started in their careers.

Find out more about TPP's Agriculture programme