Agricultural apprenticeships in Queensland are a key focus of a new partnership between the Palaszczuk government and the state’s major producers.
The collaboration will result in the creation of the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA), which the government is supporting with $3 million in funding. The partnership aims to target skills shortages in the sector, as well as tackle common workforce obstacles preventing rural employers from growing.
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne confirmed the RJSA would be run in conjunction with AgForce, Growcom, CANEGROWERS and the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF).
“Our intention was to help rural enterprises meet their seasonal employment needs, help people to acquire the skills required to satisfy potential employers and get more young people in rural and regional Queensland into apprenticeships that enhance their chances of long-term employment,” he said.
“I am delighted to say that, thanks to the spirit of partnership and collaboration we have found with the agricultural sector peak bodies, we can do all that and more.”
Mr Byrne said the RJSA is a part of the government’s pre-election commitment to supporting better jobs across rural locations in Queensland. The alliance will also act as a single point of reference across the state’s agriculture industries for employee issues.
The RJSA will perform a number of duties to underpin employment growth in farming and related sectors. This is expected to have a significant impact on jobs in Queensland.
According to Mr Byrne, the alliance will be heavily involved in collecting and analysing jobs and skills statistics, which he claimed is crucial to identifying where primary producers need help filling gaps in the workforce.
The RJSA will also work towards tackling labour shortages directly, while taking on the responsibility of running AgForce’s Schools to Industry Partnership Program. The scheme educates people on the benefits of a career in agriculture.
QFF CEO Clare Murray said attracting and retaining talented employees is a problem for the industry. She also welcomed the opportunity to work with the Queensland government on such a landmark partnership.
“The RJSA will provide the government with a model for the clear identification of workforce supply gaps and the best-value-for-money investment opportunities for their training and skills expenditure,” she added.
Dan Galligan, CEO of CANEGROWERS, echoed these sentiments, stating that the initiative would provide a much-needed boost in training and jobs for the cane-growing sector.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator