The first Rural Support Training Program was delivered in Gatton from the 10 – 14 December 2018.
TAFE Queensland chief executive officer Mary Campbell said the training would help farmers engage with their local communities and increase off-farm revenue opportunities.
“The drought has affected the majority of Queensland, and with no immediate signs of reprieve,” said Ms Campbell.
“We believe that offering genuine support to farmers is a valuable investment to help them enhance their skills and value add to their business in the future.”
“There are five different programs on offer, providing training in a range of areas including work health and safety, chemicals, chainsaws, hospitality, Microsoft skills to pre-employment skills to help gain employment in the construction and infrastructure and resource industries.”
The focus on safety components of the program provides an additional opportunity for farmers to improve their skills and safety awareness which should result in improvement in safety performance on farms once the farms are able to provide sustainable revenues post the drought.
“Farmers are kept busy with a continuous body of work to maintain their farms and they need flexible training, which is why we’ve worked with the Queensland Government to develop the Rural Support Training Program,” she continued.
Programs are short term and enable famers to accommodate daily travel time and schedule farm tasks before and after the classes.
At this stage the programs have been scheduled until mid-April 2019.
“We will continue to add programs as locations are negotiated with local communities,” said Ms Campbell.
Future rounds of the program are being planned in the next few months at Goondiwindi, Roma, St George, Toowoomba, and Cunnamulla.
The Rural Support Training Program is an initiative of the Palaszczuk Government’s Regional Skills Adjustment Strategy (RSAS).
The Regional Skills Adjustment Strategy is a $10 million two-year Queensland Government funded initiative delivered by TAFE Queensland to support regional workforces to navigate economic change.
Through the strategy, identified workers and workforces will be offered support to gain foundation, employability and technical skills to transition to the jobs of the future.
Assistance can be provided to:
Support provided by the strategy will be responsive — targeting workers that are at risk of being displaced from traditional industries, and providing a regional response to workers retrenched as a result of significant company closures.
The strategy will also provide proactive support to employers in target industries, including resources, manufacturing, infrastructure, food processing and agriculture sectors, to build workforce resilience and address skills or labour shortages.