On 6th December 2017 in Wellington, Primary Industry Capability Alliance (PICA) and DairyNZ co-hosted a one-day research forum with a focus on human capability in our innovative primary industries. The new and joint initiative was a unique opportunity for industry, government agencies, and education providers to access valuable research and knowledge not readily available. Attendees also had the opportunity to contribute their ideas about areas of future research which would help them achieve their goals.
Following an opening address by Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Meka Whaitiri, three sessions addressed three key questions:
To conclude the forum, delegates took part in a workshop focussed on ‘Where to from here with the research agenda?’
With over 40 delegates attending from PICA members and non-member organisations, the forum was a great success. While many reported ‘light bulb moments’ throughout the day, others are still reflecting on the knowledge they gained from the broad range of speakers, and considering how they can apply their insights to current and future projects.
DairyNZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for People and Business, Mark Paine was pleased that the forum exposed a raft of research well underway: “It started a valuable conversation about several key research themes and highlighted areas that need further investigation. Based on the level of attendance and engagement, the forum has the potential to be an annual or biennial event.”
For Thea Wallace, Skills and Regulatory Stewardship Manager for MPI, the forum was a great opportunity for PICA members to share insights from previously completed research and discuss the priorities for future research: “It highlighted that the primary industries are not alone in their endeavour to attract, train and retain high calibre employees with the construction industry facing similar issues. We’re looking forward to receiving the write up of the key research needs and discussing how we can contribute in future.”
The forum also attracted attendees from schools and employers with an interest in our primary industries.
Peter Hampton, deputy headmaster at St Paul's Collegiate School was grateful to join a like-minded group of people working towards the same goals: “The forum helped me get up to speed with the latest research and was a valuable networking opportunity. I’ve since had 5 – 6 delegates contact me about our initiatives and how we can work together. The sense of partnership throughout a wide-range of discussions amongst people from different sectors was fantastic.”
For Charles Taituha, Māori Agri-Business Development Manager for rural services company Carrfields, the research forum confirmed what he’s observed in the field: “We’re struggling to find the right people for jobs we need to fill. There’s a huge gap between the talent we need and the pool of people available. Training and education are important but we need to get more people excited about working in our sector first. 1 in 4 people we interview have the qualifications but not the soft skills or the passion which are essential to our success. A lot of people want to be farmers but we also need people who can provide support services too. If someone is passionate about our sector, we’re off to a great start. Once they’re in, we can offer them the training and education they need.”
While many reported ‘light bulb moments’ throughout the day, others are still reflecting on the knowledge they gained from the broad range of speakers, and considering how they can apply their insights to current and future projects.
View the forum Presentations