Agricultural apprenticeships: A new path to a stronger industry

By Grayson Genders on
17 October 2023

Skills Insight is embarking on a journey to map out a trade pathway and improve the appeal of entering a career in agriculture, meeting to workshop how an agricultural apprenticeship could work earlier this month at Hagley Farm Primary School.

Skills Insight is conducting ten in-person regional workshops and three online to investigate a combination of industry needs including, broadacre cropping, livestock production, and dairy. Stakeholder Engagement Manager Andrew Horgan said the series of workshops Australia-wide would investigate how an apprenticeship for agriculture could be structured and consider the implementation, marketing and financial implications.

Hagley Skills Inight
Agricultural apprenticeship workshop at Hagley Farm School. Picture by Grayson Genders

The project has come about at the direction of Senator Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, after the recommendations from the Agricultural Workforce Working Group and delivery of NFF National Roadmap 2030, in which the industry identified the need to establish a nationally consistent, 'trade-equivalent' job brand for skilled farm workers.

"The purpose of the workshops is to undertake two activities. One is to undertake a work function analysis to try and describe what an agricultural apprenticeship would look like and what are the core functions of that role?" he said.

"The second part of the workshops considers implementation of the model, including market and financial considerations?"

"Business productivity and career satisfaction are supported when there is access to quality on the job skills and training. It's important industry has a role and can take responsibility to build those capabilities," he said.

Nathan Cox, workshop participant and TFGA Board Member, said there is a need in the industry for a qualification higher than a level three certificate.

He said, "There is general support for a trade qualification, and it's important for the industry to let Skills Insight develop something the industry has input on and can say is appropriate".

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"We know there is a need for a rock-solid qualification and hopefully people will vote with their feet and deploy people, putting them through a trade, so we have a sustainable and well-trained workforce into the future.

The workshop was well attended, with representation from; kindergarten to year 12 sectors, the University of Tasmania, Tas Tafe, and Skills Tasmania.

Mr. Cox said, "There were some good discussions about the alignment between all the sectors to move us forward, and this will assist in developing what a trade qualification would look like for a training organisation."

"The opportunity of this workshop was for Tasmanian farmers and the agricultural industry to be heard and have a say, and we got that, it got taken on board," he said.

The outcome of the workshop process will result in the development of a comprehensive report, which will be submitted to the government's 'Workforce Committee'. The committee subsequently will report to Senator Watt.

For more information about the Ag Trade Apprenticeship Project or register for a workshop, visit the Skills Insight website.