Workers hit WAFarmers books

26 May, 2004 10:00 PM
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WA'S agricultural workforce has been boosted with the launch of WAFarmers Training division last week.

WAFarmers had to become a registered training organisation (RTO) to offer industry-based traineeships, special short courses and recognition for prior learning.

WAFarmers president Trevor De Landgrafft said the organisation had been working towards becoming a RTO for the past two years.

"We have acknowledged the importance of practical training in agriculture so we have ensured that WAFarmers Training is actually able to provide education on-farm," Mr De Landgrafft said.

"WAFarmers Training also provides an avenue for skilled farmers to gain qualifications for their existing knowledge, to recognise the fact that most farmers have a wealth of experience without the formal credentials."

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the shortage of skilled workers was a serious problem for farmers.

"Unlike most training providers, WAFarmers Training will encourage and facilitate on-farm training rather than have courses confined to classrooms," Mr Chance said.

"This is particularly important in the agricultural industry because of the practical nature of farm work and the range of enterprises that can operate in one workplace."

Mr Chance took the opportunity to announce the continuation of FarmBis funding from July 1 and said WAFarmers' assessment had proved useful.

He said the Agriculture Department would continue to work with farmers and training organisations to ensure assistance was made available through grants for eligible skill development activities.

"I believe WAFarmers Training will rapidly develop into one of the leading training organisations for WA farmers," Mr Chance said.

"The assurance of the continuation of the FarmBis program will no doubt be welcome news to WAFArmers on the launch of the WAFarmers Training initiative."

WAFarmers Training offers certificate two to advanced diploma in agriculture, certificates one to four in sheep and wool and many other short courses on demand.

Mr De Landgrafft said WAFarmers Training had the potential to benefit rural communities, as well as individual students.

"With the current skilled worker shortage and the lack of young people in rural areas, our rural communities are declining," he said.

"Training is one way to contribute positively to this growing problem.

"Our new training division provides a new education option to encourage more people into the industry and, subsequently, rural communities."

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