Welcome to the first edition of Making Connections Newsletter for the NSW Agrifood Industry Training Advisory Board August 2017

The NSW Agrifood Industry Training Advisory Board (NSW Agrifood ITAB) was delighted to be one of the eleven successful organisations who were given an eighteen month contract to deliver advisory services in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, conservation land management, animal care and management, food processing, seafood, meat processing and racing. The newly formed ITAB received over 55 letters of support for the tender, thank you to those organisations that supplied a letter.
The training packages that fall within our remit are:

  •  AHC: Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation Land Management
  • ACM: Animal Care and Management
  • FDF: Food Processing
  • RGR: Racing
  • SFI: Seafood
  • AMP: Australian Meat Processing

The ITAB looks forward to working with our key stakeholder groups to ensure the ongoing strength of the Vocational Education and Training sector in NSW. The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change – Heraclitus
We continue to face change within our VET sector. When things change, people become concerned as to how they can effectively deal with issues. NSW Agrifood ITAB is always willing to provide a listening ear and help industry with the VET conversation.

PART Qualification Funding Program Extended to December 2017

The NSW Department of Industry Part Qualification funding program ( previously known as skill set funding) has been extended until the end of the year. This is a unique program that allows flexibility for industry to up skill workers in any skill set combination. Guidelines of the program require participants to enroll before the end of 2017 and complete training by the 30 June 2018. The ITAB is able to broker this funding for industry on a statewide basis. If your industry requires training across NSW and would like to take advantage of this please contact the Agrifood ITAB. For more information on the part qualification funding and how to access on a individual basis please email training.market@industry.nsw.gov.au or tel 9266 8008 or your local TS NSW office listed below.
Updated Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy 2017 now availableMaking Connections NSW Agrifood ITAB Newsletter 1 August 2017
The Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy 2017 has been updated to include the recently announced extensions of eligibility for:
 home schooled students
 asylum seekers and refugees.
Read more about home schooled students’ eligibility for Smart and Skilled.
Read more about asylum seeker and refugee eligibility under Smart and Skilled, including fee-free training.
FREE – supervising your apprentice or trainee workshops
Workplace supervisors are in a key position to maximise the success of training and therefore ensure the supply of skilled staff for the future. A capable supervisor can make workplace training meaningful and enjoyable for both the supervisor and the apprentice and trainee. It is important that workplace supervisors have the necessary skills to oversee their apprentice of trainee. At the free workshops run by NSW Department of Industry Training Services you will learn the following: You will learn: • how to effectively supervise and coach apprentices and trainees • the importance of effective communication in the workplace • what to expect from the training provider — arranging training that works for you and your business • practical ideas to help address workplace bullying and harassment issues • about Training Services NSW — who they are and how they support you and your apprentice/trainee • understanding Generation Y and how to effectivelyengage with them
If your industry is interested in a tailored industry specific workshop, please contact the NSW Agrifood ITAB who will be able to organise a workshop for your industry. For more information on general workshops please contact your regional State Training Services Office listed below:
Training Services NSW — Western Sydney & Blue Mountains
Ph: 02 9204 7400 or STS.Parramatta@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Southern & South Western Sydney
Ph: 02 8707 9600 or STS.Bankstown@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — New England
Ph: 02 6755 5099 or STS.Tamworth@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Illawarra & South East NSW
Ph: 4224 9300 or STS.Wollongong@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Hunter & Central Coast
Ph: 02 4974 8570 or STS.Newcastle@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Central & Northern Sydney
Ph: 02 9242 1700 or STS.Chatswood@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Riverina
Ph: 02 6937 7600 or STS.WaggaWagga@industry.nsw.gov.au
Training Services NSW — Western NSW
Ph: 02 6392 8500 or STS.Orange@industry.nsw.gov.au
Regional Consultations and Workshops
Regional economic development is a major focus of the NSW government. The NSW ITABs have been encouraged by Training Services (TS) NSW to take an active part in visiting regional areas.
NSW Agrifood ITAB was one of 10 NSW ITABs to attend the Hunter Valley Regional Consultation.
The format included presentations from the regional TS NSW office on major job trends and training opportunities. Each of the ITABs added input about their own industry sectors. At this consultation workshops the ITAB’s were able to provide specific information and consult with three key groups — employers, RTOs, and schools and careers advisors. Over 130 stakeholders were updated on Training Services NSW’s activities/services, information on training skill needs and workforce development priorities of industry.
The ITAB’s also reported on traineeship and apprenticeship trends, issues with recruitment and retention as well as efforts to increase completion rates. Employers raised concerns about their inability to recruit enough good candidates for local apprenticeships and traineeships.
Following on from this consultation, the Agrifood ITAB went to Aberdeen in the Upper Hunter Valley and was able to consult with key stakeholders from the horse industry in the Upper Hunter Valley and provide information on available funded training opportunities to address the new Horse Industry Code of Practice. Key stakeholders included the Hunter Valley Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Australian Horse Industry Council, Australian Stock Horse Society, Australian Bushmen’s Rodeo & Campdraft Association, Australian Livestock Events Center and WorkSafe. A potential “white card” induction course to address the new code of practice is currently being considered.
Following the meeting, the Agrifood ITAB Executive Officer attended the graduation ceremony of the Equistart candidates at the Goldolphin Stud Parade. Pictured below are graduates, key horse industry stakeholders, TAFE NSW Equine teachers, Jon Black CEO of TAFE NSW and of course the MELBOURNE CUP !
photo courtesy of Fairfax media
This article was originally published in trade journals in 2013. The message is still as valid today, as it was then.
Trade up- take on an apprentice…
In these uncertain economic times, employers are feeling a distinct lack of confidence. This unfortunately is leading to a lack of apprenticeship offerings across our automotive sectors.
As we begin a new year, it is imperative that as an industry we look to the future, and understand that a decision made now to not employ apprentices due to the economic downturn, will have serious ramifications in the next three to four years. Apprenticeships have a long lead time and when the economy improves, it will be imperative to be ready with fully capable staff.
Apprenticeships can help businesses across all sectors of the automotive industry by offering an opportunity to harness fresh new talent.
Many businesses, whether small or large consider skills shortages and recruitment difficulties a bigger threat to performance than soaring prices and declining consumer spending. A lack of suitably skilled people has been identified as one of the main barriers to future growth
Apprenticeships ensure that your workforce has the practical skills and qualifications your organisation needs for both now and in the future. The mixture of on and off job learning ensures they learn the skills that work best for your business.
Those who have taken on apprentices in the past understand the benefits that apprentices bring to their business – increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent work-force.
Improve your bottom line
Apprenticeships deliver real returns to your bottom line, with apprentices helping to improve productivity and to be more competitive. Training apprentices can also be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.
Fill your skills gaps
Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.
Motivate your workforce
Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. Remember, an apprentice is with you because they want to be – they have made an active choice to learn on the job and a commitment to a specific career.
Many sectors of the agrifood industry have traditionally been a keen supporter of those wishing to enter the trade, and as an industry, we need to invest now in people who can develop the skills that we will need in our future. Please feel free to contact the NSW Agrifood ITAB on 0421 830056 to discuss the opportunities available to you in taking on an apprentice or trainee.
The NSW Agrifood Industry Training Advisory Body was successful in obtaining the CIII in Beekeeping on the NSW Government Smart and Skilled list. As a result of this, the qualification is now heavily subsidised for industry and is also now available as a school based traineeship (SBT) free of charge. This is the first time that the qualification is available to high school students in NSW and potentially Australia. This will allow high school students to do the CIII in Beekeeping as part of their Higher School Certificate as well as work as a beekeeper while at school.
A school based traineeship pilot will commence in the latter half of the year on the north coast of NSW to allow keen high school students to take advantage of the newly available traineeship. Representatives from the NSW Department of Education are currently working with high schools in the northern rivers and mid north coast to recruit interested participants. They have reported that there has been great interest in participating in this trail from school students.
A traineeship is an employment arrangement between the student/trainee and the beekeeper. Beekeeping employers are wanted to take advantage of this exciting new trial and employ student/trainees for a minimum of 120 days over approximately 2.5 year period. The 120 days allow student to develop practical skills with on the job training from the employer which is essential to becoming a successful commercial beekeeper in the future.
The advantage of SBT’s for employers are:
1. a keen source of labour who are interested in learning about beekeeping
2. NSW Department of Education will cover the cost of the training delivery and assessment.
3. Training will be provided by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) who is highly experience and respected industry trainers. These trainers will deliver the formal training and assessment
4. Training will provided across 16 competencies including four elective competencies for a nationally recognised qualification
5. lower wages for the trainee while they are training and working for you
6. This will allow commercial beekeepers and queen breeders the opportunity to have skilled trained labour available for the future of the industry and food security.
7. Ideal for beekeepers with sons or daughters at high school who are interested in entering the family business while at high school.
For this pilot to be successful, it is essential that commercial beekeepers support the initiative and employ a trainee. Beekeepers are required to employ a student for a minimum of 120 days. Wage rates are according to the National Pastoral Award for school based trainees. Bruce White a beekeeper from Sydney believes that this is a great opportunity said “it would have been great for current commercial beekeepers to have had this opportunity while they were at school.”
Two showcase days for students, teachers, careers advisors and employers are planned the far north coast and mid north coast in October 2017.

To download the full newsletter Making Connections NSW Agrifood ITAB Newsletter 1 August 2017.

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