GRDC - Ground Cover Issue 59 - Partners in Grain - Family circle of learning

By Rebecca Thyer

Training for partners - typically spouses and family members - in grains enterprises will be offered in a new, more flexible format following research into training needs by Queensland"s Partners in Grain (PinG) network. From next year it will trial flexible "learning circles", comprising about five participants and a facilitator.

The circles will offer learning without the geographical and time constraints that often make training courses unattractive to spouses and family members. Less emphasis will be placed on face-to-face teaching and more on a flexible program outside traditional teaching times, using information technology.

Queensland PinG coordinator John Rochecouste says individual training needs will be discussed with the "learning circle" group and a facilitator. The facilitator will then gather relevant information and customise an appropriate approach, be it attending a course, mentoring, being directed to particular resources or holding informal workshops.

The training review follows a survey of Queensland grain business partners to obtain a snapshot of their educational needs.

"As most farming enterprises rely on partners for operational and business management, targeting training in the most effective way is crucial," Mr Rochecouste says.

But with no research results available on the existing skill levels, PinG surveyed 40 partners working in grain enterprises.

The survey, by Jillian Condell, a consultant in adult and vocational education, found that although most business management is handled by partners, few have any formal training in this area. Additionally, business management training is often not tailored to farming enterprises and tends to be held at unsuitable times or in faraway locations.

Mr Rochecouste says that although most partners have little or no formal training in business administration and marketing, increasing competence in these areas could
help to significantly lift an enterprise"s profitability.

GRDC Research Code PIN00003
For more information: Jean-Francois (John) Rochecouste,
fax 07 4635 0824,

Region North