Education & Training Update – April 2009

Postgraduate / Postdoctoral / Intern Update

Emma Borland (a CRC Honours Student) reports that her birds have arrived and her project trial is being set up. Emma is also currently writing her research proposal and literature review.

A Research Scientists / Interns / Postgrad / Postdoc / Honours Session (workshops and industry visits) will be held in Armidale on May 11-14. Tuesday May 12 is the workshop, which is being held on the UNE campus and will include presentations from industry personnel. On Wednesday May 13, there are industry visits in the Tamworth region with an overnight stay in Tamworth. We are expecting more than 20 participants. The cooperation of industry in providing presenters for the workshop and venues for industry visits is very much appreciated.

Industry Training Update –

The Revision of the Rural Production Training Package

The first draft of the new merged rural training package, Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (AHC09), is now up on the AgriFood Skills Australia website. This new training package consists of the former Rural Training, Amenity Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Packages.

Susan Gleeson, Michael Williams and I are meeting later this month to draft a response to the draft from the Poultry CRC. We need to make sure that the new merged training package works for the poultry industry. As three training packages are being merged into one, inevitably, the units of competency tend to be more generic. Industry bodies and companies are encouraged to provide feedback to the draft package.

To go to the Improvement Register to provide feedback, visit AgriFood Skills Australia website and click on Rural Production (RTE03).

On the same site, you will also see Food Processing (FDF03). This training package is also of relevance to the poultry industry as it covers poultry meat processing and further processing, as well as egg processing. However, the revision of this training package is at an earlier stage at the present time.

Revision of Murrumbidgee College Poultry Training Manuals

I have received a number of requests for copies of the revised Murrumbidgee College Poultry Training Manuals and some people have provided feedback. The intention is to have the original training manuals as well as the revised ones in a secure area on Poultry Hub, for use by the industry and training organisations. If you have not already done so, please contact me to obtain the files for these manuals.

DETA Conference

The DETA (Department of Education Training and the Arts) Conference was held on March 26-27. It consisted of a combination of presentations and workshops and was attended by about 1000 people, mostly from Queensland. The areas of expertise of those attending were wide ranging, from the traditional trades to the ambulance service, aged care, tourism, energy, etc. There were very few attendees in primary industries. Key Speakers included Bernard Salt from KPMG who gave a most interesting talk about the changing demographics of Australia and what this means for training. He predicted that training demand will come from both young people moving through the system and retired baby boomers. Bernard made some very interesting comments about the need for Australia to bring in about 180,000 migrants each year, to ensure the prosperity of the country. John Anderson from Contiki Tours gave a very interesting account of how he built up his business and the importance of training to the success of businesses. A number of interesting observations were made including the comment by Rob Stowell (Learning Australia Pty Ltd) that the important thing is “assessment for learning” rather than “assessment of learning”. Chris Galway (Institute of Business Excellence) spoke about skills transfer, e.g., if a person learns to use a particular tool such as a saw, is he/she competent to use a different type of saw? The Global Financial Crisis was referred to on many occasions. Chris Rodwell (Qld Director, Australian Industry Group) predicted that apprenticeships and traineeships will fall but that employers will be keen to retain staff and provision of training is widely recognised as being an important tool for staff retention. He urged Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to be a “partner” for industry. An unexpected highlight of the conference was meeting up again with Petra Kelly (formerly Petra Masters) who worked with us on the Queensland FarmBis project. Petra has extensive knowledge of the VET Sector.

Schools Update

Teachers’ Resource Kit

Work on the Teachers’ Resource Kit is proceeding well. Susan Gleeson and I are attending the Agriculture Teachers Associate of South Australia (ATASA) conference in Murray Bridge next month. We will be giving a presentation and seeking feedback from teachers about the resource kit. We are also hoping to recruit teachers to test out the kit in the second half of the year. The Poultry CRC is sponsoring this conference. The longer term plan is to “launch” the kit at the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) in Gatton next January. I have already spoken with the NAAE President about sponsorship and the launch of the resource kit.

Royal Agricultural Show

Mr Shane Reeves, NSW Farming Manager of Inghams Enterprises, and I staffed an Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) booth at the Careers in Agriculture Expo at the show in Sydney on April 14. We were very busy throughout the day with a pleasing level of interest from school teachers, students and members of the general public. Shane answered the technical questions about the chicken meat industry and I did my best to address questions about education and training opportunities. We reported back to Emma Norgrove of Reed Weir Communications, which organised the ACMF booth, that we felt it was a very worthwhile exercise.

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