Luke Randle has made the leap into dairy farming and hasn’t looked back.
The 24-year-old who came into the industry via a high school work experience opportunity said he was enjoying the challenge of managing a young team and was accessing Dairy Australia resources to build his operational and management skills.
“I lived in town growing up and was always interested in farming, but I didn’t think I would get to a position like I’m in now,” Mr Randle said.
“I started working on a farm as part of work experience in year 12 and really enjoyed it. I was offered a job at the end of it and it’s all gone from there.”
Mr Randle manages a team of six people, four full-time and two part-time, on the irrigated 650-cow dairy farm.
Over the past few years he has focused on building his skills through learning opportunities with GippsDairy.
“I was aware I hadn’t gone to university for formal education, so I looked for opportunities and I owe a lot to GippsDairy. I’ve done just about every course they’ve run, and I encourage my team to as well.”
As a manager, Mr Randle said Dairy Australia’s People in Dairy website was particularly useful to access employment resources like the Employment Starter Kit (ESKi) – a program he had also completed training in.
The ESKi contains the documents and information that farmers need to start employing and managing people, such as a written position description, induction checklist, and employment contract that sets out employee duties, responsibilities and tasks.
“I’m on the People in Dairy website just about every week. It’s a great resource – whether you are looking at keeping up with pay rates or employment regulations, it’s very useful,” Mr Randle said.
Mr Randle said everyone in his team is given the opportunity to take on additional training, with a Cups On Cups Off course being the one pre-requisite for prospective employees.
“The way we look at it is that we want to build people up. We may lose some of these people from our business, but it’s about helping them become better people with more skills and go on to bigger things.”
Mr Randle said he runs a roster where people have every second weekend off, creating flexibility for employees.
Daily communication and staff contact are important, with more formal meetings kept to a minimum and a Facebook Messenger group chat used for keeping the team up-to date with daily operations.
Mr Randle said his unique start into the dairy industry has made him open-minded about who is employed on the farm. All of the current employees do not come from dairy backgrounds and only one is older than him.
“For me, it’s all about how someone will fit into the team, not their age or if they’ve grown up in the industry. It’s about getting on and working as a team to get the job done.”