Improving workforce data collection to foster the growth of Australian agriculture

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AgriFutures Australia and RMCG work in partnership to improve the collection of workforce data in Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

AgriFutures Australia and environmental and agricultural consultancy, RMCG are excited to announce their joint project Mapping the workforce of Australian Agriculture – current state and future requirements. The project is a direct result from what has been said and heard across sectors and will assist the Australian agriculture industry to grow and skill its workforce.

Recognising the importance of responding to this issue, a collaborative partnership led by AgriFutures Australia and contributed to by multiple Research Development Corporations, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, and the National Farmers Federation, has been initiated to improve the collection and availability of accurate workforce data in the agriculture sectors.

Consisting of a steering committee from nine RDC’s and receiving in kind support from all fifteen RDC’s, this project is a significant step toward enabling better-informed workforce strategic planning, policy development, research, and progress monitoring for the agriculture sectors. It will be a foundational step in meeting the sector’s workforce needs now and into the future.

AgriFutures Australia, Senior Manager Collaboration, Georgie Toose says the Australian agriculture sector, including fisheries and forestry, has ambitious growth and sustainability targets for the future.

“It’s crucial that our rural industries not only attract, retain and upskill their workforce, but are also equipped with the tools to plan their workforce needs now and into the future”, Ms Toose said.

“This project was built in response to what we are hearing from Australia’s rural industries – that the current approach to workforce data may not be providing the information needed to effectively respond to and plan for future workforce needs.”

The current approach to collecting and analysing workforce data in the agriculture sector is fragmented, making it challenging to plan ahead.

Various organisations utilise a range of tools and methods to collect data, resulting in inconsistencies and data gaps. This project marks the first phase in the process of rectifying this issue.

RMCG spokesperson, Brooke Hermans hopes the project will provide an opportunity to explore ways to collaborate across industry to improve access to workforce data.

“It is pretty clear that the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries are having trouble accessing the workforce data they need.

“This is an opportunity to explore ways to collaborate across industry to improve access to workforce data that can help with workforce policy and strategy” Ms Hermans said.

This project is foundational research that will strategically guide future workforce priorities and inform national debate and policy via an evidence base.

“We hope this project will establish pathways for RDCs and other industry stakeholders to work together to improve the design, collection and analysis of workforce data, enabling informed workforce strategic planning, policy development, research and progress monitoring” Ms Toose said.

The agriculture sector’s workforce is the backbone of a thriving and sustainable industry. By improving the accuracy and availability of data, we are taking a significant step toward achieving the sector’s ambitious goals and securing a prosperous future for Australian agriculture.

Steering committee includes representatives from Australia Eggs, APL, AWI, CRDC, FRDC, GRDC, Hort Innovation, Dairy Australia, MLA, NFF and DAFF.

View project page here

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