Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

UNE has launched the first two dedicated university qualifications for transition and succession planners.

The University of New England is helping to make conversations about succession planning a little easier, thanks to the creation of two new online postgraduate courses tackling succession and family business planning. It is also hoped that having professionals trained in this important aspect of managing properties will help combat the common discrimination against daughters.

The Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Transition and Succession Planning have been designed for professionals working across a range of industries, such as family counsellors, farm business consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and extension and advisory staff within the agricultural sector who regularly deal with family businesses.

The two courses were developed in response to a growing body of research conducted by the UNE Business School and the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law looking into gender and farm succession, and the discrimination that daughters often face when it comes time to handing down the family property.

UNE Business School’s Dr Lucie Newsome says these courses will help to provide more education around the social and economic consequences for rural and regional communities when succession planning is not done correctly.

“Despite the wider social norms of women’s increasing participation in paid work and formal leadership roles, a key barrier to daughters being nominated as the successor in intergenerational transfers of family farms continues to be the social construct of both the farmer and the entrepreneur as masculine,” Dr Newsome says.

“Patterns of property transfer can influence the sustainability and flexibility of family farming, as well as the industry’s ability to respond to our changing environment. Gender norms not only constrain women, but also men.”

The two courses will cover areas such as dispute resolution and communication, as well as an overview on transition and succession planning from a legal perspective. As Australia’s population ages, Course Coordinator Dr Andrew Lawson, says the need for qualified professionals to help with decisions around passing down family businesses has never been stronger.

“At the moment, there is no dedicated university qualification for transition and succession planners,” he says.

“People within the sector with whom we work closely believe a qualification such as the one we’ve developed will help enhance the professional standing of the field.”

The courses are offered online and are open to anyone who has completed a Bachelor qualification in a relevant discipline. Enrolments for Trimester 3 are open until October 23.

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