Jobs on offer for farm trainees
AS CANE farmers count down to this year's crushing season, they're looking to secure trained and willing haul-out drivers.
It was an ongoing struggle for farmers to find experienced workers in time for the yearly harvest, Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg said.
To maintain an efficient harvest, while also maintaining worker safety, he said all cane haulers needed to understand the ins and outs of the harvesting process, from the paddock to the cane trains to the mills.
To meet the demand for farm workers, Canegrowers Mackay has launched this year's government-funded farm skilling program.
Ten applicants will be chosen to undertake a four-day, hands-on training course at a district cane farm.
Those completing the course will leave the program with four units of competency from the Certificate II in Rural Operations.
Mr Borg said this qualification would give them the appropriate skills for hauling sugar cane.
Plane Creek cane grower John Whitaker is one of many growers who have volunteered their machinery and time to train future cane haul-out operators.
He and fellow growers will allow the jobseekers to work on their farms, alongside a team of dedicated trainer and driver assistants.
This inter-generational learning experience was part of the strength of the program, Mr Borg said.
"We are very appreciative of these growers who give up their time in the busy lead-up to the harvest to ensure course participants are work ready for the sugar industry," Mr Borg said.
"They generously provide the latest heavy machinery for these newcomers to the industry to learn how to operate and manage safely and confidently."
With the course running in the second week of May - right before the harvest starts - it's a work skilling program with an impressive track record.
In its 15-year history 99 per cent of its course graduates have found work in the sugar industry or associated industry.
"Every year we have been successful in attracting new people to the industry," Mr Borg said.
For the fourth year in a row the program will receive funding from the state Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
The Skilling Queenslanders for Work Initiative partners industries going through a skills shortage with unemployed residents who are looking to get back in the workforce or pursue a career change.
Mr Borg said the program was crucial to bringing new blood to the sugar industry.
"It is inspiring to see these job seekers who are keen to be employed in agriculture get this start."
With only 10 government funded positions available, those interested in the program are advised to contact Canegrowers.
Applicants will then be invited to an interview to assess their suitability for the government-funded placement.
As a pre-requisite for the project, the successful participants need to undertake three online harvest safety inductions.
Upon completion of the course applicants will be issued an induction card which is valid for three years.
Canegrowers said the applications would remain open until all positions were filled.
Skilling Queenslanders for Work funds not-for-profit community-based organisations to deliver projects that respond to the needs of local jobseekers and employment opportunities in their areas.
Course runs from Tuesday May 14 to Friday May 17.
Limited government funded places are available.
To register your interest call Canegrowers Mackay on (07) 4944 2600.
For more information visit the Canegrowers Mackay www.mackaycangrowers.com.au