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Skilling a seasonal workforce: a way forward for rural regions

31 May 2005

Seasonal work is crucial for the many rural regions reliant on seasonal industries such as agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and tourism. In this report Sue Kilpatrick and Helen Bound examine the diverse nature of the seasonal workforce in two locations and the approaches used in their training. They report find that the seasonal workforce is diverse and has varied training needs.

Like others marginally attached to the workforce, much of their training is informal. Seasonal workers have difficulty accessing formal training and having their informal learning properly recognised. More formal training approaches are particularly relevant for those making a career of seasonal work. Barriers for employers to formal training include lack of suitable customised training programs, a lack of awareness of available training, cost, complex funding arrangements, and a low value placed on such training. Enhancers to formal training include employers who encourage and value training for their workforce, the use of brokers to assist employers to access training, and training providers with in-depth knowledge of regional industry and enterprises to meet the diverse needs of seasonal workers, and legislative requirements.

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