Problem of attitude not environment

Fran O’Sullivan writes on the problem of relatively high youth unemployment when employers can’t fill vacancies with locals:

. . . as with the dairy industry – farmers would rather import low-paid but highly skilled workers from the Philippines who will work long hours, rather than set up an optimum working environment for young Kiwis. . . .

Any dairy farmer could write a book about staff.

There are the wonderful ones who are keen, willing to learn, and use their heads and their hands.

There are others who aren’t as good but aren’t bad and there are always some who are hopeless.

There are good and bad employers too – but the latter don’t keep staff long and don’t deserve to.

Good employers also have trouble getting locals to work which isn’t a reflection on the working environment.

Dairying isn’t easy. It requires getting up early, getting dirty and working in all weather and there’s not a lot employers can do to make that more attractive.

But it pays well and workers with the will to advance can go up the employment ladder to management or sharemilking. That in turn can lead to farm ownership or provide a nest egg for investment in other business opportunities.

There are a lot of foreign workers on dairy farms but they’re not low paid and it’s not because employers prefer foreigners per se.  It’s because they are often better workers.

Dairying isn’t the only industry where this happens.

It’s not the working environment that’s the problem. It’s the attitude of some of those who are out of work and aren’t prepared to take the long term view that doing well in any job is far more likely to lead to a better one than doing nothing.




22 Responses to Problem of attitude not environment

  1. robertguyton says:

    Ele – you missed the best bits, how I don’t know!

    O’Sullivan says:

    “Key could start by cancelling the top personal tax break and “reinvesting” the hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise have gone into Bill English’s Treasury coffers into a massive state-backed scheme to train young people in the skills needed for today’s workforce.”

    What do you say about that, Ele?

  2. Robert, I quote that in my post on this, and define why Fran is utterly wrong ( and Ele is right):

  3. homepaddock says:

    Robert – We already have a large state-backed scheme, it’s the education system. Most dairy farms don’t mind untrained juniour staff provided they’ve got the right attitude. They often prefer to train them themselves and use AgITO (paying the staff while at classes) which is very good.

    I agree with Mark that the welfare cushion is too soft for those who could work but don’t want to.

  4. Glen Herud says:

    “Good employers also have trouble getting locals to work which isn’t a reflection on the working environment.”

    I disagree with you on that point. The dairy farming lifestyle of your average farm worker is unattractive and when you divide their income by the actual hours worked, they fall into the “low paid” category.

    This means that dairying is unable to attract the good employees and are left scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    How you fix the people who fall into the bottom of the barrel is more difficult as they are a product of their environment. Trying to change that environment is politically unpalatable.

    Fran sugests that immigrant dairy workers are more highly qualified. On paper they may be, but from a practical perspective it takes them 2 years to get up to speed. They do struggle getting used to operating machinery, which has cost a number of employers dearly.

  5. robertguyton says:

    Sorry, Ele, I meant what do you say about O’Sullivan coming out with that not-at-all-Tory statement? What’s happening in the world, when Key-enamored flunkies like Fran talk like that? What do you reckon about her about-face? I already know you don’t agree with her sentiments and thanks, Mark, I can see why you don’t either.

  6. robertguyton says:

    O’Sullivan also says this:

    “”Not another summit, please” was the general refrain. Many felt that another “John Key jobs summit” would simply amount to putting “lipstick on the pig” or building another cycleway (much the same thing really).”

    She’s lost the faith, Ele, and is shooting down some of Key’s most widely-touted “successes”. I hear the cry, “feet of clay, feet of clay”.
    You must be worried. O’Sullivan clearly is.

  7. homepaddock says:

    Glen we have good, local employees. Two who are now sharemilkers started as juniors. The problem is the demand is greater than the supply which is why overseas workers are employed.

    Robert – I don’t know what’s motivated Fran and I don’t agree with her. When there are jobs and training available but people who’d rather be on a benefit it’s as I said in the post the attitude that’s the problem.

  8. robertguyton says:

    I think she’s seen through the bullsh*t, Ele.
    Had to happen eventually. Smoke eventually clears and we notice the mirrors if we look long enough.

  9. Gravedodger says:

    The unemployment benefit needs to be renamed to reflect its current status.
    Some very well educated and informed social activists suggest “the seeking work wage” but my pick is “i don’t wanna work entitlement fee”.

  10. TraceyS says:

    The jobs summit seemed to lack two things; (1) broad access and (2) continuity. It appeared that it was open only to a select group of leaders. But very few leaders carry around in their heads the full range of amazing ideas had by all their underlings and associates. This is where the real gold lies.

    It would have contributed so much if there had been an open way for ANYONE to contribute, such as a website that people could add to continuously, where like ideas could be grouped into projects, and where people could log in to see where things were at and track progress. People could even use it to look ahead and see where the future jobs might lie by assessing the skill requirements of various touted projects.

    I’ll bet there are companies up and down the country looking at doing similar innovative projects but need collaboration with other companies to make it happen. The jobs summit, as a huge brainstorming effort, in itself is a GREAT idea and we should have more of them. But it desperately needs a life of its own. With that it could have been fantastic.

    Positivity people! The doom and gloom helps nobody…

  11. robertguyton says:

    The ‘jobs summit’ lacked one critical thing – results.
    GREAT idea?
    Remember how Key called it a “do-fest”? Not a “talk-fest”, he proclaimed, a “do-fest”!
    God help us.

  12. TraceyS says:

    And charter schools will add to the state system and help to cure career unemployment. If industry can get more involved in education then people will come out of the system better prepared for what industry has to offer. Career teachers are very good at teaching vocational skills relevant to being….a teacher. And anyone looking for a job as a primary teacher right now might know that supply and demand are out of kilter and the skills and education involved are not particularly transferrable. That leaves highly educated and skilled people out of work which is a tragic situation all round.

    Anyone noticed how teachers usually pick some of the brightest and best behaved kids out for future vocation as teachers? An engineer, electrician, businessperson, or scientist teaching children would be better prepared to pass on the skills needed for THOSE vocations. I was very lucky at primary school to have an engineer/teacher who helped me learn industry-relevant skills when I was 10, namely photography and computer science. That was forward thinking of him. But he valued skills and usefulness over academic performance and in thus doing, set me up well for life. He knew, I think, that if it was hard to find a job when the time came, I would be able to earn myself a living without one.

    There are growing numbers of children diagnosed with learning or behavioural disorders. A charter school could be just the ticket for these kids. But the critics might rather see these kids squeezed into a box that they don’t fit because of a crazy idea that one size fits all. Lots of those kids will end up on the dole because they feel useless when they are far from that. The ones who survive with their motivation intact go on to do amazing things, often in business, where they create employment and opportunities for others.

  13. robertguyton says:

    Charter schools. They’re the answer, according to John Banks, who you voted for, Tracey.

  14. TraceyS says:

    I’m sure you wouldn’t disagree with the existence of Steiner schools would you Robert? They are a type of charter school.

  15. TraceyS says:

    Obviously not a problem-solver are you? Those who are know that problems are often not solved on the first crack but need attempt after attempt, and attacking from different angles, and tweaking and teasing out before even getting close.

  16. robertguyton says:

    Okay…the first “do-fest’ was a flop, but the second will be a raging success!!

    Are you living on Planet Key, Tracey?

  17. robertguyton says:

    Certainly Steiner schools exist, Tracey, there’s no question about that.
    Looking forward to a rash of Destiny schools, are you Tracey-who-voted-for-John Banks? Did you also vote for Bishop Brian? Or is that His Eminence Brian? It’s difficult to keep up with the pace of his rise to God-hood.

  18. TraceyS says:

    And how did you, Robert, manage to miss the message in Ele’s post that we have groups of career unemployed in this country producing a culture for which attitudes of those concerned have become attuned to?

    The young people are not the problem. Eventually, they will either find a job and enter the workforce or they will earn an income from the state by a combination of going on a benefit and having children. It’s becoming more socially acceptable to take up the latter choice.

    No amount of state funding funnelled into training schemes will change those emerging attitudes. When a family is getting nearly a thousand dollars a week from the state then the Mum or Dad is going to have to walk into a pretty good job straight from training to compete with that!

  19. TraceyS says:

    No Robert but I am looking forward to a rash of new Steiner schools if there are people with the energy and desire to set them up. The forward-thinking father of biodynamics, as I am sure you’re aware, advocated for parents having choice in the way their children are educated. That means having alternatives to the typical state-provided education system.

    Whether parents choose a State school, Steiner school, Destiny school, or maybe a ‘Fonterra’ school for their kids is totally up to them. For any outsider to come between that choice would be wrong. What matters is interested parents making the best choice for their own children. After all, there are many people out there who think that Steiner school are weird and strange. This is much worse in Australia where the government appears to be blatantly against them.

    Nature thrives on diversity does it not? That means taking the good with the bad.

  20. robertguyton says:

    There already are Steiner schools here, Tracey and no need for legislative change.
    “Fonterra schools”
    Already underway, as you know.

  21. TraceyS says:

    In answer to your first question; why not? Especially if they take my comments on board.

    To your second question; most of the time I feel like I’m on my own planet, Robert. If that lines up with other planets then good. I hope it lines up with lots of other people’s planets too 🙂

    Planets are usually moving and don’t always line up. But that doesn’t mean they are about to collide. Just that they are sometimes closer together and other times further apart, sometimes facing one-another and sometimes back to back.

  22. robertguyton says:

    Planet Key has no toilets. Retention leads nowhere good. I worry for your health.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: