Rural Merchandising and Sales Project

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Case for change

Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management (AHC) are key contributors to the Australian economy. Merchandising operations and sales play a vital role in keeping these industries afloat, providing the technology, equipment and services to make businesses competitive.

The skills required for rural merchandising overlap with other retail work. However, specific knowledge of the agricultural sector is necessary to provide information to farmers and horticulturalists about the products they are purchasing. The specifics of this knowledge are always shifting due to technological advancements and the fast-paced nature of retail environments. As such rural merchandisers require consistently updated training that recognises the unique challenges of working in such a large-scale industry.

Due to the nature and scale of the Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management sector, industry representatives have recommended a strategic approach to reviewing the AHC Training Package. This involves identifying and reviewing units by their sector classification rather than by their listing in qualifications. This approach should significantly increase the speed of review of all qualifications, units of competency and skill sets within the AHC Training Package, while minimising the burden of voluntary support on industry.

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project out of the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry Sector IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2019-2022 (see pages 32-43).

Skills Impact and the Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 32-43)

Project Plan

Australian farmers and horticulturalists spend billions of dollars every year on products and services to keep their businesses efficient and economically viable. Rural merchandising workers are usually the first point of contact for farmers looking to invest in machinery, technology and other services. These retail employees are often in customer-facing service and sales roles, advising on farm specific merchandise, handling inventory control, processing orders in the context of the AHC environment. Importantly, rural merchandising also relates to the work of livestock auctioneers, stock and station agents, real estate agents, business managers and agronomists.

Specialised knowledge is required to sell the equipment and chemicals used in agricultural businesses. Knowledge of the parts and warranties of different machines or the appropriate chemicals to use with certain crops or livestock are vital to ensuring farmers get the right products for the job. Farmers may drive hours to purchase a replacement part or medicine for an animal and cannot afford to be sold the wrong product. For this reason, it’s important that skills standards are up-to-date and address the unique context of the industry.

Much of rural merchandising is affected by radically evolving products and markets. A review and update of current qualifications and units will equip the future workforce with the skills it needs to remain competitive.

Project Scope

The aim of this project is to review the nationally-endorsed units of competency that align with the industry sectors associated with Rural Merchandising. The current project will review the Certificate III in Rural Merchandising and 12 units of competency covering sales and merchandising in rural products and industries.

 

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 & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

Relevant Occupations

Examples of job roles that relate to this qualification include:

  • Rural merchandisers
  • Rural sales assistants

 

Project Team
Rebecca Ford Industry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact  rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au
Andrew Horgan Industry Engagement Manager, Skills Impact  andrew@skillsimpact.com.au
Peter Miller Industry Skills Standard Contractor

Timeline

The project will take approximately 12 months to be completed. A number of industry consultation workshops will be held across Australia after the initial SME workshop(s) have been completed.

July 2019
Initial scoping

August – mid September 2019
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

mid-September – mid October 2019
Drafts available for broad consultation

December 2019
Public Validation of final drafts

January – February 2020
Finalisation of Training Package components

June 2020
Submission for endorsement

Subject Matter Experts

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project to help review and draft the revised qualifications, skill sets and units. A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is identified by industry as a person with expert knowledge about how to complete particular tasks or jobs. SMEs are often identified during the project planning stage but may be included later in the project as necessary.

The input received from SMEs helps shape the AHC Training Package so that it meets industry needs and produces real-life job outcomes. Specifically, the input from an SME contributes to the project by:

  • ensuring current and future industry needs are addressed through qualifications;
  • identifying that the skills and knowledge for key job roles are reflected in units of competency;
  • identifying that core skills and knowledge are reflected in qualifications, while ensuring that qualifications can be contextualised through the selection of elective units of competency for different job role outcomes.

An SME will usually attend at least two face-to-face workshops, the location and dates for which will be determined by the project management team during the planning phase. SMEs will also be required to read and provide feedback on draft materials. This work will be undertaken on a voluntary basis. In total, approximately 25 hours will be required.

All reasonable out-of-pocket travel and accommodation expenses for members attending SME Working Group meetings will be met by Skills Impact as per its guidelines for travel and associated expenses.

If you are interested in applying to be a subject matter expert and are able to volunteer your time to this project, please email details of your expertise to rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au

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 September 2019, and again for validation of final drafts in December 2019. 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 qualifications, skill sets and units need to reflect real work experience. So if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and help. Please register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Rebecca Ford on 03 9321 3526 or rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations during the development of this project to seek their involvement and their views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units.

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please encourage them to contact the project team and/or direct them to this webpage.

Of course, all and any interested industry participants are encouraged to engage in the consultation of this project, when the draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback via this webpage and workshops that take place around Australia. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project.

Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project, as part of their responsibilities to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure projects meet industry stakeholder needs.

Development

Rural merchandising workers are usually the first point of contact for farmers looking to invest in machinery, technology and other services. Much of rural merchandising is affected by radically evolving products and markets. Rural merchandising workers need specialist knowledge to provide information about equipment, chemicals or other products so that farmers get the right item for the job.

Subject Matter Experts are currently being engaged to review the structure of the Certificate III in Rural Merchandising, which supports general merchandising operations and sales jobs in the industry. Feedback so far suggests that the Certificate III in Rural Merchandising requires significant changes to the structure of the qualification. The units of competency that make up this qualification need to be reviewed to reflect the current skilled work activities. The Subject Matter Expert Working Group also identified that the level IV AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework) units should be considered as part of the elective list of units in the qualification.

Consultation Workshops – Registrations Open!

A revised draft of the qualification and units will become available for broad consideration and feedback from mid-September to mid-October 2019 (under the ‘Drafts Available’ menu above). We welcome your feedback and advice on the draft skills standards in this time. Face-to-face consultation workshops will also take place across states and territories, with a webinar planned for those unable to attend in person. Registrations for these workshops are now open. Register for a workshop near you by clicking the corresponding link.

Face-to-face consultation workshops

Tues 17 Sept ‘19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEDT – Mildura – register here

Wed 25 Sept ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm ACST – Adelaide – register here

Thurs 26 Sept ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEDST – Sydney – register here

Tues 8 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST – Brisbane – register here

Wed 9 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST – Cairns – register here

Thurs 10 Oct ’19 11.30am-1.30pm AEDST – Melbourne – register here

Tue 15 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm ACST – Darwin – register here

Wed 16 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AWST – Perth – register here

Consultation webinar

Mon 14 Oct ’19, 1.00pm–2.30pm AWST – Webinar – register here

 

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 & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Drafts Available

Rural merchandising is an essential part of Australia’s agricultural and horticultural landscape, providing products and services to farmers looking to invest in machinery, technology or other services. This work requires specific product knowledge, including of large expensive machinery and farming chemicals, in order to ensure farmers are getting the right product in a timely fashion.

The Certificate III in Rural Merchandising and units of competency within it have been reviewed to address these specialised skills and ensure they are relevant to current practices, markets and products.

Drafts of the updated qualification and units are now available for your review and feedback. The Certificate III in Rural Merchandising has been updated to specify job roles and packaging rules, with the inclusion of new core and elective units. Further details of proposed changes to the qualification and units are included under the headings below.

You are welcome to provide feedback on as many of the draft documents as you would like. Please share these with others who may be interested in providing feedback. They will be available on this webpage for feedback until 18 October 2019.

Feedback will inform the work on the final drafts which are expected to available for industry validation in late December 2019.

How to provide feedback

The view the documents, please click on the expandable menus below. You can submit your feedback online via our feedback hub, or by taking part in a webinar or by email.

 Feedback hub 

You can post comments directly on the draft qualifications and units, as well as view any comments from others. Your comments will remain anonymous. Only Skills Impact internal staff and training package contractors working directly on the project can identify users. For more information, see our Privacy Policy. The feedback hub is also moderated to avoid misuse. For further details, see our Moderation Policy. 

Please follow these steps:

  1. Select the qualification or unit you would like to review. 
  2. You will be asked to register or login (this is a free account). Follow the prompts. 
  3. Once logged in, you will be able to post feedback directly on the document. 
  4.  Download user instructions 

Please contact us if you require assistance. 

 Feedback via email

Of course there is always the option to email us your feedback if you prefer. You can attach the qualification or unit with your track changes as feedback, or to provide general comments about the drafts. There is a link at the bottom of each document group where you can download the Microsoft Word versions of the qualification and units. Please email your feedback to rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au.

Face-to-face consultation workshops

Tues 17 Sept ‘19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEDT – Mildura – register here

Wed 25 Sept ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm ACST – Adelaide – register here

Thurs 26 Sept ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEDST – Sydney – register here

Tues 8 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST – Brisbane – register here

Wed 9 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST – Cairns – register here

Thurs 10 Oct ’19 11.30am-1.30pm AEDST – Melbourne – register here

Tue 15 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm ACST – Darwin – register here

Wed 16 Oct ’19, 11.30am-1.30pm AWST – Perth – register here

Consultation webinar

Mon 14 Oct ’19, 1.00pm–2.30pm AWST – Webinar – register here

This qualification is proposed to replace AHC32716 Certificate III in Rural Merchandising. The packaging rules have been amended to include 12 units (6 core, 6 electives), changing from 7 core and 5  electives. Some units that have been deleted on training.gov.au so have been removed.

AHC3XX20 Certificate III in Rural Merchandising View qualification and provide feedback

Alternatively, you can email your feedback to rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au.

The draft document can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Proposed changes to the following units include:

  • Minor changes to application.
  • Minor edits to elements in some units and various changes and edits to Performance Criteria (PC). Details about which elements and PCs have been edited or changed is summarised in the table below.
  • Inclusion of foundation skills.
  • Assessment Requirements updated to include the frequency and or volume to performance evidence.
  • Minor edits to performance evidence and knowledge evidence in some units.
  • Specific conditions provided within the assessment conditions.
AHCMER301 Process customer complaints View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER3XX Provide information on hardware products View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER303 Sell products and services View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER304 Recommend irrigation products and services View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER401 Coordinate customer service and networking activities View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER402 Provide advice and sell machinery View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER403 Provide advice and sell farm chemicals View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER404 Provide advice on agronomic products View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER405 Provide advice on livestock products View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER406 Provide information on fertilisers and soil ameliorants View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER407 Provide irrigation sales and service View unit and provide feedback
AHCMER501 Develop a sales strategy for rural products View unit and provide feedback

 

Alternatively, you can email your feedback to rebecca@skillsimpact.com.au.

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Summary of consultation to date

The draft qualification and units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts. They have considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in July. People working directly in the rural merchandising and sales industry participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

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 & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced