Take A New Approach To Staff Recruitment

With many in the dairy industry reporting that staff recruitment is becoming an increasing challenge, maybe it’s time to look outside the industry and train those most interested in a successful and professional future?   

Milking machine technician, Adam Fozzard, isn’t from a farming background nor does he have a farming qualification. He’s a trained electrician and, until 6 years ago, worked in the building trade. However, he does have a real passion for working on farms, and says he simply lacked the opportunity in the past.

“I was working in a plumbers’ yard, and the local milking equipment company came in frequently to get parts. They mentioned they were looking for college essay writing service someone to work on the maintenance and testing of parlours, so I applied and got the job,” he says. “A lot of the skills I have are transferable, so it maybe isn’t as big a jump as you might at first think.

“And, as technology has an increasing role in agriculture, my electrical background has been particularly useful. There’s three aspects to my role: mechanical, data and electrical. So, I had a good foundation from my previous jobs. Together with some incredible training, both in the UK and the Netherlands, now I have the skills and the experience to provide a specialist, and much valued, service to dairy farmers.

More recently, Adam decided to join Lely to focus on robot technology. “I think it’s the future for many farmers. The current robots are incredibly reliable and offer dairy producers a chance to focus more on farm and herd management. There’s obviously infrastructure considerations – such as barn layout – but if a robot can be accommodated successfully, I feel it should be seriously considered.  The technology is appealing to the new generation of farmers and farm workers too – another important aspect with thinking long term.

“I work at the front end of milking equipment technology and there’s exciting developments in progress to make the milking process more and more efficient. It’s a great time to be in the industry and see what innovations will offer future dairy farm management. The skills needed are changing, and the emphasis on milk quality and animal health continues to increase, in turn reflected by the technology on offer. I really look forward to learning with dairy farmers how to embrace these new developments and getting them to work for their individual farm businesses.”

Ian Tossell, Adam’s manager at Lely Center Yeovil, in Somerset adds: “As a business we want to recruit an enthusiastic workforce. If someone’s motivated and interested then teaching them the skills is secondary. It isn’t necessarily someone from a farming background that we would recruit as that’s a common misconception.

“Adam desperately wanted to work on farms, has some very useful skills for our business, and has proven to be a competent and valued employee. I think as an industry, we should change our expectations on what is needed. Many non-ag people would welcome the chance to work in agriculture and, in some cases, they make the best people. They often come with no preconceptions, no ‘bad’ habits and a lot of enthusiasm. It makes training much more cost effective.

“As well as the internal training, Adam will soon start the MEA Parlour Safe training. Farm Assurance already recommends this accreditation, and it gives our customers the confidence in our professional abilities. It will also give Adam a more thorough understanding of many aspects of herd management, so he can have confidence when talking to customers. This can be anything from health and safety, to animal physiology or milk quality. He wants to improve as an engineer and is motivated to gain recognised qualifications. It gives him a career path which a skilled individual needs to maintain interest and drive. And the investment in training gives me a professional workforce, which my business depends on for future success.”