Skills in handling and caring for livestock are crucial to Australia’s food production system. Livestock units are used across many qualifications, including the certificates of agriculture, to provide training to work with a range of animals in an agricultural setting, including sheep, cattle, alpacas, pigs, poultry, goats and bees.

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

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

Industry is continually implementing new technologies and methods to optimise animal welfare, improve sustainability and effectively manage livestock, particularly with the emergence of precision livestock farming practices. With over 123,000 people making up Australia’s livestock industry, it is important that the national skills standards are regularly reviewed so that learners are equipped with the skills currently required to work safely and effectively with and around livestock.   

Over the past few years, the entire agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management (AHC) training package has been undergoing significant revision using a ‘Unit Sector’ approach, to bring it up to date with current work methods and skills needs.  

This project continues the review of the training package with a focus on updating units relating to livestock operations. Input from employees, employers and trainers with relevant experience is encouraged so that updates reflect how work is performed in the industry currently.

Opportunities for stakeholder input  

At this stage of the project, we welcome stakeholders to review the units and qualification listed below and consider how they may be improved as part of this project. 

We are interested to know:  

  • Is the language used correct and current? 
  • Is the technology referred to correct and current? 
  • Is the indicative skill level appropriate? 

We are particularly interested to hear viewpoints on the qualification, AHC33316 Certificate III in Feedlot Operations, including feedback on the name of the qualification and whether there are other units that should be included in it.  

Note to RTOs: Changes made to units as part of this project will need to be reflected in other AHC qualifications and skill sets. We encourage registered training organisations (RTOs) to review the list of impacted qualifications carefully to see if they have any of these on scope. 

Input on the existing units and qualification will help in the creation of revised versions, which will be developed with help from a Technical Committee (TC) made up of relevant experts. Broad stakeholder feedback will be sought throughout the month of May via this webpage. Webinars and face-to-face consultation workshops will also be planned in each state and territory to collect feedback.   

For updates and consultation opportunities, please follow the newsletter subscription link above. Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. Please feel free to contact the project manager, Susie Falk on 0438 98 54 42 or 03 9321 3526 or [email protected] 

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project. Skills Insight will make contact with each of these organisations during the development of the project to seek involvement and views on the drafts. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on the list. If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team. A Consultation Strategy has been produced outlining the planned consultation throughout the project.

This project was approved to commence as part of the Annual Training Product Development Plan.

Project Scope and Purpose

Qualification and units being reviewed 
Consultation will take place throughout this project to revise one qualification, AHC33316 Certificate III in Feedlot Operations, and 70 units of competency. Most of the units listed are from the livestock sector, ranging from indicative AQF level 1 to indicative AQF level 5. There are also seven units from other AHC sectors, namely:  

  • Broad Acre Cropping (AHCBAC) 
  • Business (AHCBUS) 
  • Hydroponics (AHCHYD) 
  • Natural Resource Management (AHCNRM)  
  • Work (AHCWRK)

We encourage you to please check the list of units below carefully as we will require expert stakeholder input on everything listed. 

Impacted qualifications and skill sets 
The units under review as part of this project are included in 23 qualifications and nine skill sets, which will need to be updated to include the revised units at the completion of this project. Stakeholder feedback will be invited on the impacts of any updates to the units in these qualifications and skill sets. Some of these qualifications and skill sets may also be impacted by updates made as part of the Shearing and Wool Classing Project.  

Notification of units being deleted
There are currently eight units that have been removed from all qualifications within the AHC Training Package as part of previous projects. Upon completion of the remaining projects within the unit sector approach, these units will be officially removed from the AHC Training Package and will be marked as deleted on the website. Please review the list below and contact a member of the project team if you have any questions or feedback.  


Project Team

Headshot of Susie Falk

Susie Falk

Project Manager
Skills Insight
[email protected]

Andrew headshot

Andrew Horgan

Stakeholder Engagement Manager Skills Insight
[email protected] 

Peter Miller

Industry Skills Standards Contractor

Relevant Occupations 

The units being reviewed as part of this project relate to a broad range of occupations across the agriculture industry, as they describe the skills for working with livestock used in many environments. This skilled workforce draws on a range of expertise to: 

  • handle and move livestock 
  • care for livestock health and welfare 
  • feed animals, including considerations for nutrition and portioning 
  • operate specialised machinery and software programs 
  • assess and manage biosecurity  
  • market animals for sale 
  • perform general cleaning and maintenance

Qualifications and Units Under Review

*Units marked with a single asterisk are currently included in the Certificate III in Feedlot Operations. 

**Units marked with a double asterisk do not currently sit in a qualification or skill set. If, as part of their review in this project, it is determined the skills and knowledge in these units is no longer required, they will be proposed for deletion.

AHC33316 Certificate III in Feedlot Operations  AHCLSK318 Rear newborn and young livestock 
AHCBAC310 Maintain pastures and crops for livestock production AHCLSK319 Slaughter livestock 
AHCBUS301 Use hand held e-business tools AHCLSK320 Coordinate and monitor livestock transport
AHCHYD301 Implement a maintenance program for hydroponic systems AHCLSK321 Service and repair bores and windmills 
AHCHYD302 Install hydroponic systems AHCLSK322 Transport farm produce or bulk materials 
AHCHYD501 Develop a plan for a hydroponic system AHCLSK323 Maintain and monitor feed stocks 
AHCLSK101 Support extensive livestock work AHCLSK324 Care for and train working dogs 
AHCLSK102 Support intensive livestock work AHCLSK325 Castrate livestock 
AHCLSK201 Assist with feeding in a production system AHCLSK326 Mix and mill standard stockfeed* 
AHCLSK202 Care for health and welfare of livestock AHCLSK327 Collect, store and administer colostrum 
AHCLSK204 Carry out regular livestock observation AHCLSK328 Remove and facilitate reuse of effluent and manure from an intensive production system* 
AHCLSK205 Handle livestock using basic techniques AHCLSK331 Comply with industry animal welfare requirements* 
AHCLSK206 Identify and mark livestock AHCLSK332 Monitor animals in intensive production systems* 
AHCLSK207 Load and unload livestock AHCLSK333 Monitor pen condition and ration suitability* 
AHCLSK209 Monitor water supplies AHCLSK334 Plan, prepare and conduct mulesing procedures 
AHCLSK210 Muster and move livestock AHCLSK337 Train, care for and ride horses for stock work 
AHCLSK211 Provide feed for livestock AHCLSK401 Develop feeding plans for a production system 
AHCLSK213 Clean out production sheds AHCLSK402 Develop livestock feeding plans 
AHCLSK214 Maintain production growing environments**AHCLSK404 Implement and monitor animal welfare programs 
AHCLSK215 Carry out alpaca handling and husbandry operations**AHCLSK405 Implement intensive production systems 
AHCLSK216 Clean and maintain livestock pens* AHCLSK406 Oversee animal marking operations 
AHCLSK217 Apply animal welfare principles to handling and husbandry of livestock AHCLSK407 Plan and monitor intensive production systems 
AHCLSK218 Ride educated horses to carry out basic stock work AHCLSK409 Supervise animal health programs 
AHCLSK301 Administer medication to livestock*AHCLSK410 Supervise feedlot operations 
AHCLSK303 Carry out feedlot operations AHCLSK412 Arrange livestock purchases 
AHCLSK304 Carry out post-mortem examination of livestock* AHCLSK413 Design livestock handling facilities 
AHCLSK305 Maintain livestock water supplies AHCLSK414 Arrange transport for farm produce or livestock 
AHCLSK306 Coordinate and monitor production performance AHCLSK418 Escort livestock during export 
AHCLSK307 Euthanase livestock* AHCLSK419 Manage horses for stock work 
AHCLSK308 Identify and draft livestock* AHCLSK501 Manage livestock production 
AHCLSK309 Implement animal health control programs* AHCLSK502 Arrange marketing of livestock 
AHCLSK310 Implement feeding plans for intensive production* AHCLSK504 Develop livestock health and welfare strategies 
AHCLSK311 Implement feeding plans for livestock AHCLSK506 Design livestock effluent systems 
AHCLSK313 Monitor livestock production growing environments AHCNRM507 Manipulate and analyse data within geographic information systems 
AHCLSK316 Prepare livestock for competition AHCWRK601 Monitor projects in a program 
AHCLSK317 Plan to exhibit livestock 

Impacted Qualifications

The qualifications listed below may be impacted by any updates made to the units under review in this project. They may also be impacted by updates occurring as part of the Shearing and Wool Classing Project. Where possible, these qualifications will undergo a minor update to reflect the updated units. Any feedback received about these qualifications that is outside of the scope of this project will be recorded for the next time the qualifications are under full review. 

Some of the units under review as part of this project currently sit in the core or within a specialisation of other qualifications. As replacement of these units is deemed a major change and lies outside the remit of this project, they cannot be updated at the end of the project to reflect updates to the units. Instead, the updates to the units will be recorded and addressed the next time the qualifications are under review.

In some cases, qualifications from training packages outside of Skills Insight’s remit may be impacted by updates to the units. In these instances, the Jobs and Skills Council responsible for the training package will be notified.

AHC10222 Certificate I in AgricultureAHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture *
AHC20122 Certificate II in Agriculture *AHC40219 Certificate IV in Protected Horticulture
AHC21722 Certificate II in PermacultureAHC40920 Certificate IV in Conservation and Ecosystem Management
AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture *AHC42021 Certificate IV in Landscape Construction Management
AHC30620 Certificate III in Production HorticultureAHC42122 Certificate IV in Permaculture
AHC30722 Certificate III in HorticultureAHC50122 Diploma of Agriculture *
AHC31120    Certificate III in Nursery OperationsAHC50320 Diploma of Production Horticulture
AHC31818    Certificate III in BeekeepingAHC50520 Diploma of Arboriculture
AHC32422 Certificate III in Irrigation TechnologyAHC51920 Diploma of Applied Agronomy
AHC32720 Certification III in Rural MerchandisingAHC60319 Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management
AHC32822 Certificate III in Rural Operations *AHC60520 Advanced Diploma of Arboriculture
AHC33722 Certificate III in Protected Horticulture
Note: *qualifications marked with an asterisk also impacted by units in the Shearing and Wool Classing Project

Impacted skill sets (9)
Some of the units under review as part of this project are currently included in the skill sets listed below. These skill sets will be updated to reflect the revised units at the end of this project.

AHCSS00068 Production Horticulture Technology Skill Set
AHCSS00101 Irrigation Retail Sales Skill Set
AHCSS00113 Firearms Skill Set
AHCSS00150 Livestock Health and Welfare Supervisor Skill Set
AHCSS00151 Pork Industry Stockperson Skill Set
AHCSS00152 Poultry Farm Technician Skill Set
AHCSS00153 Poultry Breeding Technician Skill Set
AHCSS00155 Poultry Services Provider Skill Set
AHCSS00156 Poultry Hatchery Technician Skill Set

The following qualifications contain units under review as part of this project and are also under review themselves as part of the Shearing and Wool Classing Project. You may wish to visit the project page for that project if you have an interest in them.  

AHC21316 Certificate II in Shearing
AHC21416 Certificate II in Wool Handling
AHC32916 Certificate III in Shearing
AHC33016 Certificate III in Wool Clip Preparation
AHC33116 Certificate III in Advance Wool Handling
AHC41315 Certificate IV in Wool Classing

The workforce of 123,000 people in the livestock industry are continually adopting new technologies and methods to improve sustainability, efficiency and animal welfare outcomes in the industry. It is important that the national skills standards for this work are regularly reviewed so that learners are equipped with the skills currently required to operate safely and effectively with and around livestock.   

This project continues the work to fully review the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management (AHC) training package with a focus on updating units relating to livestock operations. Employees, employers and trainers with relevant experience are encouraged to provide feedback so that updates reflect how work is performed in the industry currently.

A Technical Committee of relevant experts has been formed to provide advice throughout the project. The group met on 22 February 2024 for initial discussions and to review and accept the Technical Committee Terms of Reference and Consultation Strategy.

Site Visit Consultations

Skills Insight’s Susie Falk and Peter Miller recently visited a cattle property near Mansfield for a site visit as part of this project. Their hosts Emily, James and Clara McCormack treated them to a valuable couple of days. Susie and Peter were able to observe how the McCormacks work with horses and dogs to manage their cattle, how they digitally record calf weight using ear tags, and how they handle the livestock using low stress stockhandling techniques.

Susie Falk and Peter Miller on site
Peter with James and Clara at work
Clara bringing in cattle on horseback

Susie and Peter also had the opportunity to visit Teys Australia’s Charlton feedlot, where low stress stock handling was also a focus. They were able to observe how technology is used to determine how many kilograms of feed has been consumed per animal, and how much more might be needed at the next feeding time. They also saw how riders on horseback survey the stock, looking for any animal with health concerns and separating them out for later treatment. Peter and Susie were then shown how new stock are processed, including tagging and vaccinations.

Through these site visits Peter and Susie were able to experience tasks covered by the units and qualification being reviewed as part of this project.

Next Steps

The units and qualification will be reviewed and updated in consultation with the Technical Committee. The draft units and qualification will be made available for comment on this webpage in May 2024. Workshops will be held around the country and online to provide further information about the drafts and how to provide feedback. More information about the workshops will be available on this webpage soon. If you would like to be notified when this information is available, please subscribe to our newsletter and select agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management’ as one of your areas of interest.

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the broad consultation stage, we present and discuss potential solutions, collecting feedback from a wide range of stakeholder across the country. It follows consultation with various stakeholders that has already taken place throughout the project.

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the validation stage, we check our work with stakeholders to confirm that solutions are in line with expectations.

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

As the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management (AHC) industry adapts to technological advancements, shifting markets, and environmental concerns, it is important that the AHC training package can be updated holistically and on a regular basis.  

Given the many unique and interrelated skills across the industry, a strategic approach is being undertaken to identify and review units by their sector classification rather than their listing in qualifications. 

Following a staged process, the Unit Sector approach allows us to: 

  • review the entire training package within a limited number of years 
  • make better use of expert’s time when volunteering their expertise 
  • make it easier to identify duplication of content and missing skills and improve the ability of units to describe job functions that are required across multiple qualifications 
  • provide further opportunities to identify units that are misaligned with their defined AQF level, improving the quality of AHC units specifically and the training package generally. 

2024 Projects as part of the Unit Sector Approach 

There are two projects taking place in 2024, as part of this work. Each will be undertaken separately but run concurrently, allowing for a more targeted consultation while ensuring that the projects can simultaneously review and address any overlaps between them.  

The Livestock Operations Project will also update LSK units that are core in the Shearing and Wool qualifications. 

A project to analyse the how the AHC21216 Certificate II in Rural Operations is being used is also underway concurrently with these projects.