Last updated: 24.10.12

Dairy Women's Network to roll out distance learning platform

A professional dairy industry women's group in New Zealand is planning to coordinate an online training course for other female farm workers.

The Dairy Women's Network will combat the problem of restricted access to high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas and deliver a range of resources and business skills to ladies in the agriculture.

Chief executive of the organisation Sarah Speight stated the lives of females in the sector are becoming busier and as a result, the Network must be innovative in providing e-learning to individuals without them having to be in a specific place at a certain time.

She added: "Sure, there are limitations to what we can do, but our members have said they don't want limited access to broadband to stop the network delivering innovative services that suit the rural dairying lifestyle.”

A virtual Dairy Day webcast is to be introduced as an extension of the workshops that are held twice-yearly, covering topics from essential business practices to on-farm skills.

According to Ms Speight, pre-recorded webcast format - as opposed to live video streams - will minimise some of the problems brought about by slower broadband speeds.

The New Zealand government committed to the Rural Broadband Initiative in 2010, which promised to roll out high-speed internet to 252,000 customers and give 86 per cent of countryside households and businesses better connectivity.

However, only 20 per cent of rural properties have access to peak speeds of five Mbps at present.

The Daily Women's Network emerged from an email group serving females in Waikato in 2008 and it now has around 3,100 members who run 27 regional groups throughout the country.

The first webcast - which is to focus on developing human resources skills for dairy farm employers - will be available to members of the association on October 31st.

Digital learning material can be watched online at any time of day and will be available to download onto DVDs or as an audio file for offline viewing.