In­dus­try train­ing needs

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly -

NEW South Wales grain and cot­ton grow­ers are be­ing en­cour­aged to have their say in a statewide sur­vey to gather crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion about the im­pact of the AgSkilled ini­tia­tive in meet­ing the train­ing needs of their re­spec­tive in­dus­tries.

AgSkilled is a $14.7 mil­lion, three-year, NSW Gov­ern­ment­funded, in­dus­try-led work­force de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, aimed at en­sur­ing the state’s cot­ton and grain in­dus­tries have a skilled work­force ca­pa­ble of meet­ing the chal­lenges of the fu­ture.

De­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with Cot­ton Aus­tralia and the Grains Re­search De­vel­op­ment and Cor­po­ra­tion, the AgSkilled project has been in­volved in as­sess­ing and pro­vid­ing vo­ca­tional train­ing for those work­ing at a farm level.

To date the AgSkilled strat­egy has de­liv­ered train­ing to more than 3000 learn­ers, across more than 100 lo­ca­tions, cov­er­ing top­ics such as ad­vanced chem­i­cal train­ing, pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture, lead­er­ship, pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, gover­nance, drones in agri­cul­ture and a range of safety cour­ses.

AgSkilled project of­fi­cer Clau­dia Vi­cary said the pro­gram was now past the mid­way mark in terms of its ini­tial fund­ing, so those in­volved in the grains and cot­ton in­dus­tries were be­ing asked to com­plete a short sur­vey to pro­vide feed­back on the im­pact and value of this unique project, and sug­gest any ar­eas for im­prove­ment to en­sure the re­main­ing 12 months con­tinue to de­liver for in­dus­try.

“This pro­gram is the first of its kind so we are keen to un­der­stand how in­dus­try feels we are track­ing and if there are any ar­eas we need to ad­dress,” Ms Vi­cary said.

“This in­for­ma­tion will con­trib­ute to­wards an in­de­pen­dent mid-term re­view of the AgSkilled pro­gram.

“To take part in this op­por­tu­nity and share your thoughts and ex­pe­ri­ences, please fill out a short on­line sur­vey – it should only take about five min­utes to com­plete be­cause we know your time is valu­able.”

GRDC North­ern Panel chair­man John Minogue said the AgSkilled sur­vey was a unique and im­por­tant chance for grow­ers to ex­press their sup­port for ef­fec­tive in­dus­try train­ing and help iden­tify gen­uine im­prove­ments.

“Train­ing can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure on-farm and in busi­ness,” Mr Minogue said.

“It doesn’t mat­ter whether you are a farm owner or a farm­hand in agri­cul­ture, like any in­dus­try, you need the skills to match your role, whether that’s ba­sic ma­chin­ery main­te­nance or com­mod­ity mar­ket­ing.

“AgSkilled has been about iden­ti­fy­ing and de­liv­er­ing the right train­ing in re­gional lo­ca­tions to en­sure both em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees have the ca­pac­ity, skills and knowl­edge to be en­dur­ing and prof­itable into the fu­ture.”

Mr Minogue said the AgSkilled pro­gram had al­ready re­ceived wide­spread sup­port from the grains sec­tor and he was keen to see the ini­tia­tive ex­tended be­yond the ini­tial three-year term.

Cot­ton Aus­tralia CEO Adam Kay said AgSkilled pro­vided im­por­tant ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing on a wide range of top­ics to up­skill work­ers and boost ef­fi­cien­cies on farm.

“In­creas­ing the ca­pac­ity of the work­force will al­low grow­ers, on-farm staff and the broader in­dus­try to bet­ter man­age cur­rent and fu­ture chal­lenges,” Mr Kay said.

“I en­cour­age grow­ers to com­plete this sur­vey to en­sure we can con­tinue to meet in­dus­try-wide train­ing needs.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

UP­SKILLING: AgSkilled project of­fi­cer Clau­dia Vi­cary be­lieves train­ing is em­pow­er­ing for the in­di­vid­ual and can drive pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity gains on-farm.

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