The Department of Agriculture and Food is helping with workforce development for farms in the southern forests region.
The department’s Manjimup Horticultural Research Institute is working with the South West Institute of Technology (SWIT) to deliver tractor training as part of Agrifood Skills Australia national regional initiatives.
Manjimup Horticultural Research Institute Manager Ian Guthridge said the department recently provided facilities and expertise for two short courses in tractor operation.
“The department is keen to do what it can to help retain and attract workers to improve the productivity of local farming businesses,” Mr Guthridge said.
“We are proud to have a played a part in up-skilling workers for the industry.”
According to SWIT Agricultural Lecturer Andrew Pound the training has been extremely well received, by both farm business operators and their employees.
“Business operators have been very proactive in offering up their employees for the program, recognising the value that it adds to the skills of their employees and their productivity and performance on-farm,” Mr Proud said.
Dairy worker Kristian Herbert said that the training was invaluable.
“Even though I grew up on a farm and have my loading tickets from working in the mining industry, the course was still worth doing as there is always new machinery, new switches and new ways of doing things and it is good to keep up with it,” Mr Herbert said.
Due to the high demand, a second round of training will be offered to farm staff within the next two months, with a higher-level skills training program for farm supervisors also planned.
Mr Guthridge said the successful collaboration with SWIT and Agrifood Skills Australia was a just one example of how the department supports the success of the agricultural industry.
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