Training support for farmers during hard times.

TAFE Queensland’s Rural Support Training Program for 2019 begins today, with Esk, Warwick and Kingaroy set to benefit first.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said the program provides much needed training support to farmers and communities severely affected by drought.

“In tough times we need to work together and innovate,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We want to ensure we can support our farmers by providing training opportunities to improve their farming operations and increase opportunities for off-farm income.”

“This TAFE Queensland program will be very valuable to farmers and drought affected communities, giving them opportunity to gain new skills to be able to embrace new business opportunities.

The first Rural Support Training Program was delivered in Gatton from the 10 – 14 December 2018.

Participant feedback on the chemicals, chainsaw and machinery washdown training completed was excellent.

“The success of the first program has seen increased enquiry levels for this round of the program,” she said.

“The five different programs on offer, provide training in a range of areas including work health and safety, chemicals, chainsaws, hospitality, Microsoft skills to pre-employment skills to help gain employment in the construction and infrastructure and resource industries.”

The focus on safety components of the program provides an additional opportunity for farmers to improve their skills and safety awareness which should result in improvement in safety performance on farms once the farms are able to provide sustainable revenues post the drought.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the program offered flexible and practical training.

“Modern agricultural industry needs diverse training that can be delivered in a practical way, and this program delivers on that,” Mr Furner said.

“During tough drought conditions, this program is an important contributor to these communities.”

TAFE Queensland chief executive Mary Campbell said the training would help farmers engage with their local communities and increase off-farm revenue opportunities.

“The drought has affected the majority of Queensland, and with no immediate signs of reprieve

“We believe that offering genuine support to farmers is a valuable investment to help them enhance their skills and value add to their business in the future.

“Farmers are kept busy with a continuous body of work to maintain their farms and they need flexible training, which is why we’ve worked with the Queensland Government to develop the Rural Support Training Program.  

Programs are short-term and enable farmers to accommodate daily travel time and schedule farm tasks before and after the classes.

At this stage the programs have been scheduled until mid-April 2019. 

“We will continue to add programs as locations are negotiated with local communities,” said Ms Campbell.

The Rural Support Training Program is an initiative of the Palaszczuk Government’s Regional Skills Adjustment Strategy.

Future rounds of the program are being planned in the next few months at Goondiwindi, Roma, St George, Toowoomba and Cunnamulla.

For more information about the Rural Support Training Programs, visit www.tafeqld.edu.au