A project is being developed to advance the skills of farmers on Eyre Peninsula.

This project stems from Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula’s Agriculture Advisory Group, who have expressed concern that not enough new generation farmers are acquiring the necessary skills to increase efficiencies and maximise farm profits in a safe and sustainable fashion.

Eyre Peninsula farms generally employ very few people, with the exception of seeding and harvest times.  During these times they employ casuals, who generally are seasonal, multi-skilled (not necessarily qualified) and work in other sectors outside of seeding and harvest.

It is not known how many people who are employed full time on the farm have tertiary qualifications or indeed would like to have a qualification.  However, the Agriculture Advisory Group anecdotally believe there are not enough people with an agricultural qualification and if more were qualified then efficiencies, profits, conservation and safety would all be improved.

A funding application is being developed through the State Government’s Skilling South Australians program to provide an opportunity to bring small numbers of students from small farming communities across Eyre Peninsula and aggregate them into a group which will provide the economies of scale needed for a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to run a 16 unit Certificate III in Agriculture traineeship around their communities.

It is proposed to survey farmers to identify the level of education they require from their employee(s) to:

  1. Gauge farmer preparedness to invest in training.
  2. Provide options to farmers on possible qualifications and the skills (units) embedded in the qualifications.  This will determine if there is a qualification which is common across Eyre Peninsula which could provide the economies of scale for an RTO.
  3. Determine if there are any impediments for farmers which would make it difficult to be part of a training program, eg the possible conflict between the vagaries of seeding and harvest times with the need to attend training.
  4. Develop solution(s) to any identified impediment(s).

Image by Jacqui Barker Photography