The wide geographical distribution and diversity of crops in the grains industry leads to work opportunities in different parts of the country.
It is estimated that there will be a requirement for between 50 and 100 new employees in the grains industry in each of the major grain producing states each year. The area of primary production has over the last five years, had one of the highest rates of employment growth in Australia. Working arrangements in the grains industry range through full-time, part-time and seasonal work. This will allow you to be flexible in planning your career and working arrangements so that you can gain training and experience in other areas of agriculture and the general rural sector.
For those prepared to undertake study and training or who have competencies in the agricultural area, work can be found in a range of grain producing operations - from individual family farms to companies and corporate farming enterprises running several properties. On most of these properties there would be opportunities for expanding your range of skills into other areas of activity on the farm.
The majority of farms producing grain are involved in other agricultural enterprises such as sheep for meat and wool, beef cattle, pigs, cotton, sugar cane, hay production and a range of ‘new' or cottage enterprises such as agro-forestry, emus, alpacas, viticulture and horticulture.
In the future there will be an increasing demand for competent and flexible employees who have the skills to work in the industry and who can adapt to changes in production.
Working on a grain-growing farm involves a variety of daily activities that naturally vary with the seasons, the climatic region and crops grown.
Your work in the grains industry is divided into a series of levels related to your skills and competencies. As you progress through your training you will become more skilled and knowledgeable and be able to move from one level to the next. At each level the complexity of the work and your responsibilities will increase. These levels are known as Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) levels. They are used in every industry and are a guide as to what you are expected to be able to do when you have achieved competence at each level.
Since these are nationally recognised levels of competence you can take your skills from one part of the country to any other part. Many of the competencies that you gain in the grains industry can be transferred to other industries that employ people with similar skills.
There is no direct linkage between the AQF levels and industrial classifications and conditions. These are determined on an individual, enterprise or industry level.
You will find there is a minimum wage level set by legislation but most farmers will consider individual working agreements and these may include benefits such as housing and use of vehicle.
A career in the grain production industry gives you the opportunity to follow a country lifestyle, with all its advantages.
|Level||Job Role||Recommended Qualification|
|Level 2||Farmhand/Tractor Operator||Certificate II in Agriculture (Grain Production)|
|Level 3||Farm Tradesperson||Certificate III in Agriculture (Grain Production)|
|Level 4||Farm Supervisor/Contractor||Certificate IV in Agriculture (Grain Production)|
|Level 5||Farm Manager/Grain Grower||Diploma of Agriculture (Grain Production)|
|Level 6||Rural Business Manager||Advanced Diploma of Agriculture
Advanced Diploma of Rural Business Management
Work at AQF level 2 is likely to involve increased participation in fieldwork and routine monitoring and checking of equipment and the growing crop.
You will be able to read and follow instructions such as those in service manuals and on chemical containers and communicate effectively as part of a team.
You will be given more training so that you are able to take greater responsibility in performing routine tasks with limited supervision.
Your duties at this level would be under direction and include:
- Operating tractors, plant and machinery used in the cultivation, sowing and harvesting of the crop
- Basic maintenance of the equipment
- Preparation of the land for sowing
- Preparing the grain storage areas for receiving the crop
You will be involved in the daily routines of the property and expected to take note of, and report anything that appears to be different from normal on the farm.
Work at this level is likely to include routine tasks without supervision.
You will be expected to carry out instructions in the field and be able to deal with most situations as they occur.
You will be expected to be working at about the level of a qualified trade's person.
At this level you will be involved in all aspects of the farm operations such as:
- Sowing the crop
- Applying fertiliser
- Applying pest control measures
- Servicing of equipment
- Transporting grain and fertiliser
- Handling the grain and seed in storage areas
- Harvesting the crop
- Implementing land care programs
You will also be expected to plan your own daily work program and make decisions on taking action to correct common problems that occur on a grain farm.
Work at this level may involve responsibility for supervision and training of other employees, total farm activities, incorporation of district catchment management/landcare programs on the farm, workshop management and operations planning.
It will also include implementing management decisions and regular reporting and communication.
Typical duties at this level will be:
- Planning for sowing and harvesting of the crop
- Managing crop health
- Planning and implementing long-term disease, pest and weed control
- Maintaining grain quality and hygiene in storage by managing the storage program
- Arranging grain movement
- Conducting major repair and overhaul of equipment
You will also be involved in implementing business management procedures and recommending strategies and work plans to your manager or the owner of the property.
Work at this level generally involves responsibility for the management of the total farm operation and personnel. At this level you will probably be the manager of a property. Most family farmers generally carry out management decision making at Levels 5 or 6, although of course they perform routine tasks at lower levels as well.
At this level your duties will be mainly managerial and include:
- Management of farm staff
- Planning of operations
- Establishing occupational health and safety policies and procedures
- Administration of the business
- Management of finances
In addition there are certain production areas for which you will have management responsibility:
- Integrating the pasture, crop and livestock production
- Planning land use
- Marketing grain products
- And specialist operations such as Producing seed for commercial purposes
Work at AQF 6 equates to responsibility for the overall management of the property or company. Your work will include long term strategic planning, management and resourcing of finance, personnel management and commodity trading. You could also be involved in non-farm activities such as being an active member of producer bodies, commodity marketing organisations and taking part in government decision making.