Access to vocational education and training is one of the drivers of growth in the agricultural sector and supports measures to close the gap between training and workforce needs. It also encourages uptake of careers in agricultural whilst helping retain the best and brightest in this diverse and dynamic growth sector.
Current barriers to the uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships in agriculture must be addressed to make sure there are enough people to fill the growing number and diversity of job across the sector.
Having industry at the centre of training package development, with capacity to determine training needs in the sector, and when they are needed, is key to building a strong and effective agricultural workforce.
Furthermore, understanding how food and fibre moves through the supply chain to the consumer is fundamental to creating a strong and prosperous connection between Australian farmers and the broader population.
The uptake of rural apprenticeships and traineeships has fallen by 30 to 35 per cent in New South Wales. This is a trend reflected across the country and broadly across all industries.
Apprentices and trainees in rural Australia face particular barriers; including a lack of awareness of agricultural training and career options, a mismatch between training options and on farm employment requirements and cost barriers.
The NFF was pleased to see Government adopt key principles of its reform proposal to put industry at the centre of training package development. The establishment of the new Skills Service Organisation “Skills Impact” to support Industry Reference Committees (IRC’s) to review and develop training products, including skills standards and qualification for rural and related industries, among others is a crucial initiative. It is vital that the IRC’s accurately reflect existing and emerging workforce development needs when creating and refining skills standards and qualifications.
In 2015 the Federal ‘Agriculture in Education’ project commenced to bring agriculturebased resources into the curricula for students from Kindergarten to Year 10. This project addresses gaps in knowledge about the origins of food and fibre and aims to inspire the next generation into agricultural careers.
What the industry needs
- Continue to provide support for programs that encourage the uptake of vocational education and training in rural areas and ensure that training package development accurately reflects the needs of industry
- Continue to provide support for initiatives that improve connectivity between Australian farmers and the broader population.