The Primary Industry Capability Alliance (PICA) was officially launched in Wellington last night.
The initiative was warmly received by an audience of influential leaders in the primary industry. The Minister for Primary Industries, Hon. David Carter presented at the launch along with several other speakers.
PICA is a collaboration between DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, New Zealand Young Farmers, AgITO, Lincoln and Massey Universities, Federated Farmers and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
PICA Chair, and CEO for New Zealand Young Farmers, Richard Fitzgerald said "We are working together under a common strategy to achieve greater impact and better outcomes than could be achieved as individual organisations."
He also said the launch was a key event in recent agricultural history.
The launch was attended by Beef + Lamb New Zealand's CEO Scott Champion who said that growing our people is a critical industry issue.
"Technical requirements are increasing in agriculture; we need people in farming along with ag service providers who can address those requirements."
He also said that there was a lot of shared interest in terms of capability building in the sector.
"Partnership is the obvious model and can include industry groups, agribusiness and education providers. We all share the need for great people with great skills."
Mr Fitzgerald says that there is a huge range of opportunities available across the country in the rural sector.
"Industry good organisations have recognised the need to coordinate courses, events and field days for all age groups from primary school through to mature workforce - PICA can be described as a development continuum."
"Our future talent is important too; so PICA has a strong focus on engaging primary and secondary school students. A new careers programme called Get Ahead is gaining traction."
DairyNZ Director Barbara Kuriger was at the launch and recently attended a Get Ahead Experience Day in central Auckland. She said "I was impressed to see such a high level of interest in agriculture from the young urban people that attended the Experience Day."
"It's important to have both practical and highly academic people enter the agriculture industry and the Get Ahead programme is generating strong interest from across the board."
The launch also provided a platform to officially introduce the new PICA website - www.pica.org.nz.
Mr Fitzgerald said the website will act as a roadmap for users to navigate through their agriculture career options and opportunities.
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