Farmers look for moderate to basic skills
I recently attended the 2012 NSW Farmers Association Conference and discussed with farmers from all parts of the state the types of skills they needed on the land and across enterprises all over NSW, and the ACT.
A survey question asked about the skill levels they needed most on their properties:
- Basic skills – harvest trail workers, general farm hands, etc
- Moderate Skills – including HSW school leaver with agriculture subject and some farm experience, a mature worker with experience on the farm, etc, or
- Higher Skills – university graduate agronomists, agricultural science, etc
Interestingly, only 4 of the 34 responses received during the conference indicated they wanted/needed higher level skills sets.
Farmers said that while they needed higher level skills from time to time, it was not as often as they needed basic or moderate level skills. They also tended to consult with those who provided these services, such as agronomists, agribusinesess or crop scientists.
The response did not indicate that higher level skills were not needed, but that they would have the need for these higher order skills less often.
The survey did, however, show a significant trend towards a need for workers with moderate and basic level skills. Sixteen responses indicating a need for moderate skill levels and 14 indicated a need for basic skill levels.
More in-depth discussions on farmers' skill needs were held during the conference. This revealed a trend towards needing a workforce with some skills, some knowledge and some experience. They felt this combination could deliver a resourceful and trusted employee with skills across many aspects of farming, especially livestock and machinery operation and maintenance.
This employee could be a young person who had spent time on the land growing up and who had completed one of the agricultural based-subjects in high school. Or it could be a mature person with some farm experience who was interested in working on the land.
These results provided strong indications that vocational training at a Certificate II or Certificate III level has a strong role to play in helping to educate individuals and to provide farmers with the agricultural workforce of the future.
With training now very flexible and with online avenues available, the farm employee may not even need to leave the property to learn and to be assessed. The opportunity to find the agricultural workforce of the future may prove to be a much simpler process than in the past.
Education and Training Adviser for NSW and ACT
For more information
For more information on how to train existing workers or new entrants, and to obtain links to online services or training providers, please contact me on 0419 496 876 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org