Government backs more initiatives to boost food and fibre workforce

The Government is backing more initiatives to boost New Zealand’s food and fibre sector workforce, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

It has been working with the food and fibres sector to fill critical workforce needs and has committed to getting 10,000 more Kiwis into the sector over the next four years.

New workforce initiatives being backed by the Government include:

  • Up to $240,000 to fund an on-the-job mentoring programme aimed at building experience for Kiwis new to agricultural contracting.
  • Funding for two horticulture career development managers in Pukekohe and Canterbury to direct seasonal effort and resource where required.
  • Establishing a Food and Fibre Youth Network and Council with NZ Young Farmers to provide input into workforce and other issues.
  • Running Innovation Activator workshops with Rural Women NZ to fast track their entrepreneurial ideas.

“These initiatives follow work we’ve already done over the past eight months through the Opportunity Grows Here campaign and training initiatives that’s resulted in 3,694 more people working in the food and fibre sector,” said Damien O’Connor.

“The agricultural contracting programme is a good example of how we’re partnering with industry. It will be delivered by agricultural work specialists, HanzonJobs and targets job seekers affected by COVID-19, Ministry of Social Development clients, and 18-24 year olds who aren’t in education, employment or training.

“The Food and Fibre Youth Network and Council will provide a formal pan-sector youth voice to raise matters such as workforce issues and provide input into critical decisions to guide the future of the sector.

“There’s no shortage of talented people in our rural communities,” said Damien O’Connor.  “The Activator sessions provide the opportunity for rural women to have intensive, mentor-led sessions with experts to help bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life.

“By harnessing these ideas and helping to get them off the ground, we will be building capability within the sector, and future employment opportunities.

“These investments in people move us along our Fit for a Better World Roadmap, which aims to accelerate our primary sector’s economic potential.”

Source:  Minister of Agriculture

Primary sector jobs for kiwis gets a boost

A new campaign launched today will attract people to vital food and fibre sector jobs, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Mr O’Connor today launched Opportunity Grows Here – a website and marketing campaign funded through Budget 2020 – to attract 10,000 New Zealanders into food and fibre jobs over four years.

“Our primary sector is a huge part of our economy and our brand and it’s going to play a big role in our economic recovery,” Damien O’Connor said.

“It’s a sector that brings tens of billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy every year and accounts for nearly one in every seven jobs, but more Kiwi workers are needed to support its growth. We want to redeploy recently unemployed Kiwis to help fill the gap.

“It can be hard to find information when you are looking for a job and so we’ve built this site to bring opportunities across the primary sector together into the one place, making it easier for employers and for job seekers.

“Many unemployed people are talented and have skills that are readily transferrable. They just need to know that these opportunities exist – that’s what this campaign is all about.

“The research we did showed us that people didn’t know about the range of job options in the sector or that they might have the right skills.

“Opportunities aren’t just in remote, labour-based roles. Some are jobs in our cities and include work in science, technology, business management, marketing and research. There is a really wide range of opportunities and we need people with a range of skills and backgrounds.

“The site showcases the primary industries and the diverse range of jobs and careers available and directs people to where they can find out more about careers, training and jobs.

“This is a government focused on job creation and economic recovery. The Prime Minister recently announced our 5 point economic plan which positions New Zealand on the world stage to seize the economic advantage of our leading health response.

“She and I also recently announced Fit for a Better World, this Government’s bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings while protecting the environment and growing jobs.

“There are a lot of opportunities in front of us. There’s never been a better time to kick start a new career.”

Anyone interested in a primary sector career can discover more at

Source:  Minister of Agriculture