The Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA), facilitated by Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), has been successful in lobbying the QLD Government to change the eligibility criteria for farm employees wanting to upskill through the Farm Business Management course.
The decision by the QLD Department of Education & Training to offer flexibility on extending the Farm Business Management course to include those who may have previously completed a Certificate IV or higher is in response to industry advice.
QFF President Stuart Armitage welcomed the increased flexibility and commended the State Government for its ongoing efforts to support the sector within the area of jobs and skills.
“Industry, through the RJSA, raised the narrow eligibility for the course subsidy as a real barrier in getting farm managers and owners to upskill in areas where there is a sector-wide shortfall,” said Mr. Armitage.
“The Farm Business Management Skill Set involves the completion of four agribusiness units and covers business planning, budgeting, risk management and succession planning. These skills are important for farm businesses particularly when planning for and recovering from natural disasters.
“Under the original funding eligibility criteria a student could not hold or be currently undertaking a Certificate lV or higher level qualification. This meant that many farm owners and managers, who are the very people whom the skill set is intended to help, found themselves ineligible to obtain financial assistance.
“While the decision by the QLD Department of Education & Training to vary eligibility criteria is in this instance a once off, industry will continue to push for increased flexibility to ensure beneficial subsidies such as the Higher Level Skills Fund continue to deliver for industry.”
To boost the resilience and long-term sustainability of the farm sector, the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is collaborating with the Queensland Agriculture Training Colleges (QATC) to roll out statewide Farm Business Management training in key regional areas. Eligible participants will be subsidised using state government funding from the Higher Level Skills Fund to undertake this training.