Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

A New Field of Employment; Cane Harvest Jobs Training Course Offered

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

A New Field of Employment; Cane Harvest Jobs Training Course Offered

Article excerpt

Byline: Zizi Averill Zizi.Averill@dailymercury.com.au

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. …

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