Fee-free training will be rolled out to the livestock sector thanks to the expansion of a government program investing in upskilling and growing the agricultural workforce.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said from its inception, AgSkilled has focused on plant-based industries like cropping, cotton, viticulture and horticulture, where it has delivered approximately $9.6 million in training across the State since 2020.
“Almost 5,400 training places have been delivered through AgSkilled since mid-2020 and this expansion to the livestock sector will turbocharge the take-up of skills and training for the people driving a $8 billion dollar industry,” Mr Toole said.
“It will help producers boost productivity, profitability and competitiveness, and create a highly skilled workforce that will drive the industry, and grow the economy for generations to come – whether you’re putting steaks on plates or producing world-class fibre.”
Under the expanded program, training is available for producers in beef cattle, dairy, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, honey-bees, other livestock, animal management services used for commercial agricultural (food and fibre) production, and pest and disease management for these animals.
Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said they are delivering more fee-free training opportunities than ever before.
“A single, streamlined training and workforce development program for the entire agricultural sector will generate more opportunities for people to get the skills they need for the jobs they want,” Mr Henskens said.
“The agriculture industry is facing a skills and labour shortage, and this program is about removing barriers for people to get skilled, so they can get a first job, a new job or a better job.”
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the program is designed to deliver industry-relevant training, drawing on new and emerging technologies, with a focus on driving efficiency and productivity.
“Our State’s agriculture sector is already extremely dynamic and responsive. This program will help us take it to the next level by giving more people the opportunity to gain industry specific skills,” Mr Saunders said.
“It helps address industry workforce shortages, give more people the skills they need to secure meaningful employment and provides career development opportunities for those already in the industry.”
Participants in AgSkilled must be 15 or over, no longer at school and be living or working in NSW and have the support of a current or future employer.
Australian Livestock and Property Agents CEO Peter Baldwin said it’s great the NSW Government is encouraging more people into a thriving industry.
“A career in the livestock industry can be incredibly dynamic and rewarding, and it’s great to see programs like these increasing pathways for more people to enter the workforce,” Mr Baldwin said.
Angus Australia CEO Scott Wright said the program will play a huge role in the progression of the livestock industry in NSW.
“The livestock sector has seen a remarkable recovery after some really tough times with drought and flood, and continues to thrive. Encouraging new people into our workforce will help ensure longevity of the industry well into the future.”
For more information about AgSkilled, visit www.nsw.gov.au/education-and-training/vocational/vet-programs/agskilled.