Training scheme offers fast track into dairy management

Dairy farmers today are living on the inheritance of labour from the past and without reinvestment there won’t be a dairy industry in the future, says Kite Consulting’s John Allen.

Speaking at the launch of a new training scheme, Mr Allen said there was a shortage of skilled dairy managers in the industry and the new Dairy Managers Scheme would, hopefully, provide the dairy sector with high calibre and professional individuals.

The Dairy Managers Scheme – a joint partnership between Kite Consulting and Marden Management – is aimed at identifying potential, young dairy managers capable of managing big units.

The two-year scheme will combine practical hands-on experience for college leavers through four to six month secondments on member’s farms, with training on and off farm.

Up until now it had been the eastern Europeans helping dairy farmers stay in business, with a career in dairying remaining an unattractive option for many college leavers, said Marden Managements’ Chris Blakeney.

“But with the support of forward thinking dairy farmers this scheme will begin to address this industry-wide problem by investing in tomorrow’s problem. Hopefully, it will also promote a better image of dairying better management ultimately means better standards of welfare, for example,” said Mr Blakeney.

“This is not a cheap labour scheme and neither is it a commercial venture. Farmers will have to pay a joining fee of £1500 and then a fee of £2375 a month, and although it is expensive, farmers need to buy in to the concept of this and take a wider view on the future of the dairy industry,” stressed Mr Blakeney.

And there were many benefits to the farmers, particularly as herd sizes were set to increase over the coming years said project manager, Sophie Helyer.

“Immediately members will gain access to an employee, with the trainee learning basics such as AI and foot trimming and working them up with the view to gaining access to them as potential assistant farm managers.

“Good employees make you thousands and bad employees lose you thousands. You grow your business around good people,” she said.

Agreeing with this statement was Gloucestershire dairy farmer Ian Wagstaff. “I would be keen to buy in to a concept like this. Young people on farm question why you do things and this is great, as you can share and develop new ideas.

“And because during the two years you get four different students who have been on other members farm, you can learn from the experience of other farms,” he said.

RABDF Gold Cup Winner Nick Cobb, who is a member of DMS, said: “Good people are the success of our business and the scheme offers a structured programme to train and develop young people to be tomorrow’s top herd managers.”

And it was the man-management skills that were particularly hard to gain experience in, said Reading University graduate, James Frankpitt.

“It is daunting leaving university and not knowing what direction to go in. But this scheme is an attractive option, as it provides you with a diverse range of skills and pays a reasonable salary starting at £19,000 and increasing to £22,000. This scheme is a way to fast track to positions of responsibility,” he said.

More information

  • DMS is now open to applications with interviews being held in April. For more information contact Sophie Helyer on 01461 700 228.

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