Growers urged to identify on-farm training needs

Author: | Date: 09 May 2017

John MinogueAs a grain grower, rural consultant and a parent John Minogue is a staunch advocate of training: in his opinion the right skills can be the difference between success and failure on-farm and in life.

“It might sound harsh, but the reality is the right training makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter what level you are in agriculture you need the skills to match your role, whether that’s basic machinery maintenance or commodity marketing,” he explained.

“In our industry, we haven’t always put enough weight on the need for training, both for ourselves and for those working with us, but that’s changing. It’s time we put some thought into what skill-sets we need as part of our own farm businesses into the future.”

As chairman of the Grains Research Development Corporation’s (GRDC) northern panel, Mr Minogue is part of a future training needs initiative led by the New South Wales Government, in conjunction with Cotton Australia, aimed at assessing and providing vocational training for the cotton and grains industries.

The AgSkilled initiative, announced in December by the Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, has been allocated $14.7 million over three-years to increase staff skill levels and attract industry newcomers with the aim of improving the productivity and profitability of both industries.

“The GRDC and Cotton Australia are now in the process of conducting an industry-wide training needs survey that will help us understand the immediate and future training needs of growers, on-farm staff and the broader industry,” Mr Minogue said.

“So, we need growers and those employed in the grains and cotton industries to have their say about what they see as their training priorities and training needs going forward.

“It is critical this sort of initiative has input from those at a grassroots level, so we know it is relevant and delivering the sort of training and skillsets we need to make a difference on-farm.”

As part of the AgSkilled initiative funding will be made available to on-farm staff and industry professionals for full qualifications (Certificate I – Diploma Agriculture) and part qualifications (from one unit up to half of a full qualification). The project aims to:

  • Drive the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of the cotton and grains industries by developing a workforce capable of managing current and future challenges.
  • Establish the cotton and grains industries as employers of choice by creating a clearly defined career pathway underpinned by an appetite for training and professional development.
  • Leverage the cotton and grains industries investments in research and development to ensure training is relevant, current and meets industry needs.

AgSkilled will be administered under the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled program, with the GRDC and Cotton Australia working with Training Services NSW and registered training organisations to deliver training. Regional delivery of training will be a priority under the AgSkilled program, with courses to be delivered in rural and remote locations.

To have a say in the future training needs of the grains and cotton industries go to the AgSkilled survey.

Caption: GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue is urging growers and those employed in the grains and cotton industries to have their say about what training is needed to make a difference on-farm.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Claudia Vicary, AgSkilled Project Officer
0409 043 774


Toni Somes, Cox Inall Communications
0427 878 378