Rural Contractors NZ has launched new awards which will recognise the next generation coming into the $2b industry.

Andrew Olsen, RCNZ’s CEO says his Board has backed the initiative as a further way of cementing in the value that rural contractors place on training.

The RCNZ Hanzon Jobs Trainee Contractor of the Year Awards 2022 have their roots in the trainee records of the Hanzon Jobs program.

“We are delighted to do this in conjunction with Richard Houston at Hanzon Jobs,“ says Andrew Olsen. “With RCNZ’s and MPI’s support, Richard has developed a brilliant programme to help trainees record their daily activities. This builds a job record which advances their careers and gives contractors a good picture of what each trainee can do.”

Since leaving school, Richard Houston has been involved with agricultural contracting. “That’s included back-to- back summers in both hemispheres where I learned all aspects of being a rural contractor. There’s such high value in these skills which now finally are starting to be properly recognised.”

Richard says to date this season, 76 trainees under the age of 24 have come on board to use Hanzon Jobs, covering 3,300 days of contracting work.

“Some trainees have logged over 100 days, well above the average and most have done a variety of tasks, all recorded and available to them and their employers.”

“We now need to create further pathways for their learning and these awards are a brilliant next step to give them further encouragement.”

Andrew Olsen says a shortlist of 4 trainees from the North Island and 4 from the South Island will be made up from the best Hanzon Jobs trainee records and employer reports.

“Those trainees will then meet a panel of expert judges who will determine the inaugural award winners from both the North and the South Islands.”

Entry will be limited to RCNZ members’ trainees who are enrolled in the Hanzon Jobs program. Details of the competition, sponsors, prizes, judges and key dates will be announced in coming weeks.

“We think this is an important recognition program for those coming into the industry to help establish an ongoing commitment to some form of training, mentoring and celebration,” says Andrew Olsen.