Boost to Ag skills program helps plant-based growers

Tertiary farm skills training given boost to new areas

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Viticulture is one of the production areas that will get a new skills training boost. Photo by John Ellicott.

Viticulture is one of the production areas that will get a new skills training boost. Photo by John Ellicott.

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AgSkilled 2.0 program expanded for plant-based ag

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A program that helps farmers and ag workers upskill has been expanded to help more areas of agriculture.

The AgSkilled program has already trained over 5200 people, including farmers, to help with on-farm skills and is now being expanded into more areas of plant-based agriculture.

The new expanded program will specifically target skills in the horticulture, viticulture and rice, in addition to programs already for cotton and graingrowing..

The NSW Government has committed $15 million to upskill primary producers.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said AgSkilled 2.0 expanded on the success of the original program in driving the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of NSW agriculture through training and upskilling.

"AgSkilled 2.0 will continue to 30 June 2023 and has expanded the opportunity for training to a much greater range of plant-growing primary producers," Mr Lee said.

"This expanded AgSkilled program will offer training across the key agricultural industry sectors of production horticulture, viticulture and rice growing in addition to the cotton and grains production covered in the original program."

The original program delivered training to 5,227 people, over 849 courses across 189 locations to support cotton and grains farmers in regional NSW.

Mr Lee said the key to the program's ongoing success was the engagement with industry to ensure training in agriculture is designed to be relevant, current and responsive to industry needs.

"This training increases the productivity and safety of existing workers in the sector and can offer career pathways for people to work in the agriculture sector," Mr Lee said.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the expansion of the AgSkilled program would provide a boost for workers who wanted to upskill or are new to the agricultural workforce.

"These expanded opportunities are targeted directly at emerging needs and skill gaps that

have been identified by industry, which means the State's agricultural businesses can get a leg up when hiring skilled labour," Mr Marshall said.

"Never before has it been so critical that we develop locally-based workers for the agricultural sector, so this will give them crucial training on the header, cultivating soil and plant health in the paddock, using new technology and more.

"Our farming businesses are the best in the world, and with programs like AgSkilled 2.0 they will have the workforce to match."

The training is complemented by a range of other Training Services NSW initiatives to support regional NSW. For more information, visit www.training.nsw.gov.au

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