The highly-successful Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN), which has facilitated the creation of hundreds of new jobs in the regions, is being extended to late 2022 with $1.7M in funding.
Formed in 2016, QAWN is a regional network of industry-based agricultural workforce officers who work directly with producers and operators across the supply chain to assist in addressing recruitment and skilling issues.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the seven QAWN officers provided advice on workforce services and initiatives to all Queensland agribusinesses.
“They have been especially important during the COVID-19 response,” he said.
“They’ve initiated workforce attraction workshops, coordinated the placement and support of refugee and migrant workers, provided job readiness training for school students to take up seasonal work during the holidays, and promoted seasonal work and a regional lifestyle to young people via social media and video.
“As we continue to implement Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, connecting industry with the workers they need will be vital for our farmers.
“In September 2020, we allocated an additional $350,000 to the existing QAWN network to increase its reach within Queensland and develop local responses to seasonal labour shortages.”
Since then QAWN has:
- supported over 320 businesses
- provided training outcomes for more than 370 people
- supported the creation of more than 700 jobs across Queensland.
Mr Furner said QAWN was a free service available to any agribusiness with operations in Queensland.
“Our QAWN officers have forged strong links with employment and training service providers across the state and can help agribusinesses with options and strategies to identify and meet future workforce needs,” he said.
QAWN officers are hosted by:
- Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
- FNQ Growers
- Bowen Gumlu Growers Association
- Canegrowers Mackay
- Central Highlands Regional Resources Uses Planning (CHRRUP)
- Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers