Attracting new workers to the agrifood industry and building skill levels across the sector are among the challenges identified in a new report launched today.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Sid Sidebottom today officially launched the AgriFood Skills Australia 2012 Environmental Scan at an event in Canberra.
“It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the AgriFoodSkills Australia 2012 Environmental Scan,” Mr Sidebottom said.
“This is an important contribution to our understanding of the skills and training needs across the agrifood and fibre sector.
“As the report makes clear, there are real workforce challenges across agriculture that require co-ordinated action across industry, government and the education/skills and training sector.”
The AgriFood Skills 2012 Environmental Scan – Disruption or evolution: The challenge facing agrifood’s employers in a time of structural adjustment – is the fifth annual report into the skills and training needs of the agrifood sector.
It identifies four areas for priority action:
Attraction of new workers
Increasing skills levels across the workforce
Sharing widely the benefits of research, innovation and new technology
Improving the retention and skills use of the existing workforce
“Clearly we need a cultural shift in the way we go about promoting the industry, attracting and retaining a workforce and providing relevant training and skills,” Mr Sidebottom said.
“I think there is now broad recognition and a growing urgency that the agrifood and fibre industry has to develop a coherent approach to tackling these priorities.
“The Government recently announced Skills for All Australians, which guarantees a training place up to Certificate III for all Australians with $1.75 billion in funding over the next five years.
“We know that the outlook for agriculture is strong – with the growing middle-class across the Asian region providing particular opportunities for Australia’s high quality produce.
“The task for us is to show just how rewarding and varied the career opportunities at all levels in agriculture, to ensure we continue to attract the best and brightest into the industry and deliver them the skills and training they’ll need to succeed.”
AgriFood Skills Australia is one of eleven Australian Government-funded Industry Skills Councils that provide advice on workforce development and training needs. AgriFood Skills covers rural and related industries (including agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management), and the food processing, meat, seafood and racing industries. AgriFood Skills is receiving $14.9 million in Federal Government funding to 2014 to undertake its important work.