ASA Pursues Seed Industry Training and Education Opportunities
ASA is driving the development of training and education opportunities for the Australian seed industry, using funds entrusted to ASA following the winding-up of the former Gatton-based Australian Seed Technology Education Centre (ASTEC). These funds are being used entirely for industry training and education.
The first step in this process involved conducting a survey of the industry to determine its training and education requirements. Industry signalled that it wanted nationally recognised and accredited training geared specifically to the industry and training courses which could be delivered in the local area, over short timeframes and at low cost to employers.
ASA Board decided to assist the development of industry specific
qualifications in conjunction with AgriFood Skills Australia, the
industry skills body which is responsible for developing training
packages for rural industries.
Qualifications developed under the national training program are eligible for support funding from the Commonwealth and state governments during the development phase and subsequent delivery.
Industry identified three priorities for training, namely:
- Seed processing operators
- Seed producers, seed agronomists and field inspectors
- Seed analysts
In June 2009, ASA convened the Seed Industry Training Advisory Group (SITAG) to work with AgriFood Skills Australia to identify and/or develop a set of Units of Competence for seed processing. SITAG members were selected because of their knowledge, experience and skills in this sector of the industry and their willingness to contribute their time and expertise to this task.
After a lot of work by SITAG and AgriFood Skills Australia, and a long wait while the proposed qualification was negotiated through the national accreditation process, a qualification known as the Certificate III in Commercial Seed Processing has been included in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package. More information on the training package is available at: http://www.agrifoodskills.net.au/training-packages/AHC/
Once this has been endorsed by the State based vocational training systems, Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) will be able to develop courses and start to deliver them in the workplace, at minimal cost to employers. The benefits to the seed industry will be that employers will be able to find workers who have recognised training in seed processing and will be able to “hit the ground running” for a new employer. Those already working in the industry will have the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification which can be used when/if they seek employment elsewhere in the industry.
In August 2011, ASA convened two new advisory groups – SITAG2 to work on the development of a qualification for seed producers, field inspectors and seed agronomists and SITAG3 to work on a qualification for seed analysts. As before, members of both groups were selected because of their knowledge, experience and skills in these sectors of the industry and their willingness to contribute their time and expertise to this task.
First drafts of the new qualifications are now available for public review and comment and can be found on the AgriFood Skills Australia website at http://agrifoodskills.net.au/training-packages/AHC/seed-production/
Industry feedback is vital to ensure the new qualifications meet industry’s needs. The feedback period closes at 5.00pm Friday 16 March 2012, and all responses, comments and enquiries should be directed to the project consultant, whose contact details are available on the website.