Investment in training will always yield return

Investment in training will always yield return

Cotton
More than $10 million was invested into training within the NSW cotton and grains industries over three years through the AgSkilled program.

More than $10 million was invested into training within the NSW cotton and grains industries over three years through the AgSkilled program.

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The Australian cotton industry is proud to have a workforce that is brimming with knowledge, a commitment to best practice, and a knack for innovation.

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Spending time and money on boosting education and training is an investment that will always yield a return.

The Australian cotton industry is proud to have a workforce that is brimming with knowledge, a commitment to best practice, and a knack for innovation.

For years, Australia's cotton industry has prioritised investing in education as a means to improve and upskill our growers and workforce, and so our industry can develop and evolve in its position as a global leader.

One such example of how an investment in training programs can yield significant results has been the AgSkilled program in New South Wales. The original program was an initiative that worked to upskill cotton and grains growers in New South Wales, and was funded by the state government and led by industry partners Cotton Australia and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. At its conclusion, the program invested more than $10 million into training within the NSW cotton and grains industries over three years. In 2019-20 alone, AgSkilled delivered more than 285 courses across more than 100 locations, and enrolled almost 1800 participants.

With such significant success, Cotton Australia loudly applauded the launch of the program's second, expanded iteration - AgSkilled 2.0, which was announced by the NSW government in September.

The new program is sure to continue boosting the skills of NSW farmers at a time when many are starting to recover from drought. - Michael Murray

AgSkilled 2.0 is a $15 million, three-year NSW government-funded, industry-led workforce development strategy. It aims to ensure the state's cotton, grains production, horticulture, viticulture and rice industries have a skilled workforce capable of meeting future challenges.

The new program is sure to continue boosting the skills of NSW farmers at a time when many are starting to recover from drought.

Some of the courses to be rolled out through AgSkilled 2.0 will be advanced spray training, precision agronomy and work health and safety.

The Australian cotton industry thanks the NSW government for their valuable investment in our industry.

There is no doubt the original AgSkilled program set a very high standard for the delivery of coordinated, high-quality training across agricultural sectors, and our industry is excited about the opportunities this second investment will provide our farmers in NSW.

I hope our growers will sign on to AgSkilled 2.0 training with the same enthusiasm and passion they showed during the original program, because it is in their interests, and our industry's interests, to have a workforce that is highly skilled and afforded valuable training opportunities.

While AgSkilled is an initiative for NSW growers, Cotton Australia has been working hard to ensure a similar program is established for growers in Queensland. Our proposal, called SmartAg Queensland, has been put to both sides of politics in that state, and we request both Labor and the LNP commit to enacting our proposal, should they form government.

While our Queensland growers will certainly benefit from such a training program, it must be remembered that all Queenslanders stand to win from such an investment - if our industry is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, that means our contribution to the state's economy will be greater, thereby benefitting all.

Ensuring our growers have access to the best and most relevant training is a priority for Cotton Australia. Our team will continue to work with growers to identify skills gaps and enable training opportunities that will continue the growth of our industry. Our industry's people and their knowledge is our greatest asset, and it is an asset worth investing in, now and into the future.

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