Recent B+LNZ Generation Next graduate Niamh shares how the programme has enabled her to take the next step in her farming career.
For Mayfield farm worker Niamh, the 2023 Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Generation Next programme has made a significant impact on her farming career.
She says she has gained invaluable knowledge that has shaped her career goals and formed lasting friendships.
Niamh completed the B+LNZ Generation next programme whilst working as a Shepherd in Mayfield. She has now been promoted to a block manager where she looks after approximately 150 hectares of land, 60 hectares being a hill block.
“My experience of the B+LNZ Generation Next programme was highly positive. I gained invaluable knowledge and made some wonderful friends. I wasn’t very tech savvy so learning how to use excel to do things like feed budgeting and keeping effective stock records has been a game changer,” she says.
“I now have the knowledge and understanding of why things are done. The programme helped shape my goals around where I want to go in farming. It highlighted to me how passionate I am about the environment and how important it is for me to be able to implement the most sustainable practices where I’m working.”
As part of her new role, Niamh is responsible for guiding and overseeing a junior shepherd during the summer months.
“The course has helped me develop my communication skills and gave me a better understanding of different people and to work with different learning styles. I look forward to putting these skills to use when a new junior shepherd arrives,” she says.
Looking ahead, Niamh plans to continue her professional development by attending on-farm field days, networking at different events, and actively participating in the community.
“I’ve started to get involved with the local collie club and that alone has introduced me to people who have a wealth of knowledge to share and always happy to have a conversation.”
Encouraging others to participate in the Generation Next programme, Niamh shares her advice: "Just go for it. You'll make some really solid friendships, learn a heap of new skills, and get to hear some super interesting stories from people who have achieved great things in farming. It's 100% worth it, and you won't regret it."
About the B+LNZ Generation Next programme
The 2023 Generation Next programme has concluded in the North Island and the South Island intake are set to complete their modules later this year.
Applications for the 2024 intake will open in December. For more information on the B+LNZ Generation Next programme and how it can benefit your farming career, visit the dedicated webpage here.