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Skills Tasmania

31 Oct 2022 - Agriculture technology training needs report

A new report examining the agri-tech training needs for Tasmanian agriculture has been released.

This report complements the existing North-West Agricultural Workforce Plan Consultancy Project (the NW Workforce Plan) and can be found on the Skills Tasmania website.

The report was prepared by RMCG and provides a comprehensive review of all feedback received on agricultural technology (agri-tech, digital ag) skills needs during interviews conducted for “North West Agricultural Workforce Plan Consultancy Project”. Additional interrogation of the data collected for the consultancy project has provided a deeper understanding of the industry’s technology needs.

The report concludes that:

* There is a need for more investment in training in digital ag/agri-tech to underpin the growth of agriculture required to achieve the Agrivision target of $10 billion farm gate value in 2050.

* Training is not only important to upskill staff and managers, but it also is a vital element of staff attraction and retention. Given the current competitive market conditions for labour, agricultural businesses need to work hard to attract and retain as many staff as possible to enable growth.

* Training and a focus on technology is a way for business to demonstrate to their team and potential new staff that they are valued and have a future with the organisation and can have a rewarding career.  Any digital ag/agri-tech training developed as a response to an immediate need will become an increasingly important part of agricultural training in the future.

* The overall priority for agri-tech training is digital literacy. GIS operations/variable rate application of inputs, soil, crop and water monitoring, with sensors, combined with weather monitoring are expected to attract the highest numbers of students and digital literacy is a prerequisite for all of these application. Digital literacy skills training would also be required as a basis for skilling up for the use of specific digital software platforms (e.g. for farm safety and logistics, record keeping).

In summary, the report highlights which technology skills are in most frequently in demand by industry being:

- soil moisture and nutrient monitoring

- weather and conditions monitoring

- GIS operations including the use of drone and spatial mapping.

The report was developed out of the consultation for the North-West Agriculture Workforce Plan in 2020 which included interviews with 110 agricultural businesses in north west Tasmania to form a picture of the changes being experienced in the industry. The consultation highlighted a need for more training in agricultural technology for existing and new staff. Technology skills were the most frequent training required and sought in the past two years and the most expected skill needed for staff in five years’ time. This full report can be found on the Skills Tasmania website

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