26 Nov 2014

50,000 more needed in primary sector

7:17 am on 26 November 2014

The Government is challenging the primary sector to help devise ways of averting a looming skills shortage.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Nathan Guy Photo: RNZ

The Primary Industries Minister told attendees at a Primary Sector Bootcamp Programme this week that 50,000 more workers are needed if the sector is to reach the Government's goal of doubling primary exports to $64 billion by 2025.

Nathan Guy said more than half would need a tertiary qualification, and primary industries would also need to attract food scientists, robotic engineers and environmental planners.

He said the Government could not do it alone.

"My challenge to boot camp attendees is to form a working group, to work closely with me and my officials, to help deliver practical solutions.

"One idea might be a New Zealand primary sector skills fund, where the industry runs high-profile scholarships to top up the Government's tuition subsidies and student loans, or primary sector ambassadors who can talk up our industry in the classroom and create stronger partnerships between schools and industry."

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