A career in agriculture, such as in animal production, crop production or land management, offers individuals the opportunity to become skilled in aspects of agronomy, animal science, digital technologies, mechanical operations, supply chains, logistics, and business management. It also allows them to have a profound impact on the broader community by contributing to the food security of Australia and being at the forefront of climate-smart solutions and practices. Improving the visibility of career pathways and enhancing the attractiveness of a career in agriculture are crucial steps in addressing the current workforce challenges faced by this industry, particularly when it comes to attracting new entrants. 

Click across the tabs to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

Recommendations for an agricultural trade pathway have been made by the Agricultural Workforce Working Group, the National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee in the National Agriculture Workforce Strategy, and the National Farmers’ Federation in their 2030 Roadmap.

This project will investigate establishing an agricultural apprenticeship pathway.

Research will be conducted in collaboration with industry stakeholders, training providers, government bodies, and other relevant parties to thoroughly explore the feasibility and viability of trade apprenticeships in agriculture. The research methods will include surveys, workshops, and stakeholder consultations to gather insights, experiences, and supporting evidence.

As part of the above consultation and research process, the project will identify various options for a potential apprenticeship model within the agricultural sector.

Please feel free to register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by contacting the project manager, Andrew Horgan at [email protected]. You are also encouraged to subscribe to project updates through our newsletter.

Research is being conducted as part of this project into the feasibility of a trade apprenticeship in agriculture and what a potential apprenticeship model could look like for the industry. Skills Insight has been engaging in activities to promote the project and make contact with interested parties.

A steering committee of employers, industry bodies, unions and other relevant parties has been established to support the project and process of gathering evidence so that it is undertaken in a clear and transparent manner as per industry expectations. The committee will have its first meeting in late September.

Organisations involved in the steering committee include:

  • Agri-tech Education and Innovation Central Queensland University
  • Australian Country Choice (ACC)
  • Australian Workers Union
  • Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) – Queensland
  • Farmer – Tasmania
  • Farmer – Victoria
  • Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA
  • Irrigation Australia
  • National Farmers’ Federation
  • Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST)
  • Tocal College

Development outcomes and next steps

Further opportunities to provide input into the research will take place in the form of surveys and interviews. 

A report with findings and recommendations of the research is due for delivery late March 2024. 

Please feel free to register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by contacting the project manager, Andrew Horgan at [email protected]. You are also encouraged to subscribe to project updates through our newsletter.

Research is underway into the dynamics of a trade apprenticeship in agriculture to help attract new entrants and promote career pathways in agriculture. 

Those with experience as trainers, employers or employees in the industry are encouraged to provide input into how an agricultural apprenticeship could work. You are welcome to contact the project manager, Andrew Horgan at any time: [email protected]

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the project to date via in-person and online consultation sessions, a survey, interviews, emails and phone calls. Your feedback will be used to inform a report that will be submitted at the conclusion of this project.

Previous in person workshops

Bendigo, VIC | Tuesday 3 October Hagely Farm (near Launceston), TAS | Thursday 5 October Wagga Wagga, NSW | Thursday 19 OctoberClare, SA | Tuesday 24 OctoberToowoomba, QLD | Tuesday 31 OctoberLongreach, QLD | Thursday 2 NovemberMoree, NSW | Thursday 9 NovemberBusselton, WA | Wednesday 15 NovemberKatherine, NT | Wednesday 22 NovemberWarragul, VIC | Tuesday 28 November

Previous online workshops

Tuesday 10 October | 9 – 11 am Monday 16 October | 2 – 4 pm Wednesday 29 November | 12 – 2 pm

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the finalisation stage, final checks are conducted and the outcomes of the project are submitted to the Department for consideration. Following this, outcomes are published or enacted.

Project background

In 2023 an Agricultural Workforce Working Group was established as a result of the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit. It was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture and brought together by the Commonwealth Agricultural Minister, Senator the Hon Murray Watt.  This working group has met eight times since the Jobs and Skills Summit to look at a range of labour and workforce skill challenges and solutions. 

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Murray Watt stated that, ‘A key priority of the Working Group has been to identify opportunities to uplift capability of workers and employers in agriculture.’ Considering the establishment of a trade apprenticeship pathway in the agriculture sector which would complement the existing VET offerings is at the heart of this research.

woman with clipboard taking notes with man holding wheat

Previous to the work of this working group, a National Agriculture Workforce Strategy was released in 2020 which recommended that stakeholders meet ‘in order to develop a flagship AgriFood apprenticeship and traineeship scheme with training providers. The scheme should address issues of employer demand and allow flexibility for employers such as the sharing of apprentices and/or trainees among small to medium businesses.’

In 2018 the National Farmers’ Federation also outlined the need for a trade apprenticeship pathway in their 2030 Roadmap under Pillar 4.1.3, to ‘Establish a nationally consistent, “trade-equivalent” job brand for skilled farm workers’.

This project is part of the Annual Training Product Development Plan 2023-24.