Ag & Horticulture Core Skills Project

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Case for change

Both the Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation and Land Management IRC have been overseeing a major review of the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package through a ‘Unit Sector Approach’, which commenced in 2019. The project work to date has focused on updating the sector-specific qualifications and units of competency to meet current skills requirements, especially where technologies are quickly evolving. This year the project will focus on the core skills that are important and applicable across all sectors of the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry.

There are many important, fundamental skills and knowledge requirements that apply to all sectors of the industry. This project will review all units of competency and qualifications that apply to numerous job functions and roles across the industry. It will also focus on streamlining the skills standards, to remove duplication across the training package, enhancing opportunities for identifying cross-sector units, and better support graduates’ capabilities in moving between occupations and industries.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast (see pages 63-68).

The Agriculture and Production Horticulture IRC and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation and Land Management IRC will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the industry, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 63-68)

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Project Plan

The agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry employs more than 452,000 people across Australia, contributing over $126 billion to Gross Domestic Product in 2020. The skills of the workforce are varied, and there are technical skills and knowledge that underpin many core work functions. These include many of the fundamental skills required to support work health and safety, environmental practices, quality assurance procedures and workplace recording. It also includes the skills to build and maintain infrastructure and fencing, which are required across many agricultural settings. Other important skills that apply across sectors include those that support community related projects and programs, research initiatives and staff performance.

These common skills feature across all sectors of the industry and they play an essential role in maintaining Australia’s food production. These skills are also critical for maintaining and preserving Australia’s national and state parks, public gardens, sporting grounds, farms and water bodies. Changes in regulations, technology, and new research has meant some of the skills requirements have evolved in recent years, and there is a need to update the national skills standards to reflect current practice.

These core skills are outlined across 75 units of competency. They are also incorporated in approximately 90 qualifications, supporting nearly every job role across all levels and sectors of the industry.

Industry stakeholders across Australia from all sectors of the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry will be consulted to help define the skills and knowledge that underpins these core work functions. Their input and feedback will reshape the current units of competency and qualifications, which have been described by several stakeholders as being too complicated and difficult to deliver by registered training organisations.

This project is part of the broader AHC Unit Sector Project to rationalise qualifications, skill sets and units and remove duplication across the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package, as outlined in the Skills Forecast and Proposed schedule of Work 2019 – 2022. The IRCs will consider industry feedback in light of the streamlining and prioritisation framework, to support efforts in reducing complexity of the training system and improve the accessibility of training.

This project will also offer the opportunity to review recommendations identified in recent projects, such as the possibility to introduce specialisations or streams for nursery operations, parks and gardens and seeds to existing qualifications.

Project Scope

Over the past five years, industry stakeholders have put a lot of work into updating the sector-specific qualifications within the national training package. This project will focus on the broader qualifications that apply to numerous sectors, and which can be contextualised to apply to numerous job roles. It will also include a review of 75 units that support fundamental skills across the industry.

Fifteen qualifications will undergo a full review process. Seventy additional qualifications that include some of the units being revised within their list of ‘core units’ will be updated to reflect changes in the units, but they will not undergo a full review process.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations

The skills standards being reviewed as part of this project relate to all occupations of the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry.

Timeline

July-August 2021
Initial scoping

September 2021 – January 2022
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

January-February 2022
Drafts available for broad consultation

May-June 2022
Validation of final drafts

June-July 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

August-September 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

October 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
Susie FalkIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impactsfalk@skillsimpact.com.au
Andrew HorganIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impactandrew@skillsimpact.com.au
Michelle Ingley-SmithIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impactmichelle@skillsimpact.com.au
Peter MillerIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in January-February 2022, and again for validation of final drafts in May-June 2022. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry, Skills Impact appreciates your input and assistance.

Those working in the dairy and milk harvesting sector are invited to engage with this project. Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, Susie Falk on sfalk@skillsimpact.com.au or 03 9321 3526.

Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

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Drafts Available

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Validation

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Finalisation

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