Industry Training Demand Profile

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Part 2 Skill shortages

Fish Farm Attendants

Fish Farm Supervisors

Senior First Aid holders

Seafood Processors Entry level (Food Safety)

Seafood processors team leaders

Fork Lift operators

Wader Safety

Machinery handling

Commercial Divers (will be reduced from previous years)

        • Aquaculture Surface supplied (AS2815.1)

        • Aquaculture SCUBA add on (AS2815.2R)

        • Aquaculture Supervisor (AS2815.2)

Vessel operators licensed for

  • Coxswain

  • Coxswain Restricted

  • Skipper 3 (master V)

  • Diesel engineering

  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 & 2

  • Marine Radio Licence (MROCP)

  • Basic Stability

  • OH&S at Sea Elements of Shipboard Safety

Part 3 Industry demand for training


Characteristics of the existing workforce

This sub-group consists of 2 large (150-500 employees) and 4 medium (10-70 employees) finfish farms and approximately 100 small to medium shellfish enterprises. The finfish (salmonid) farms employees are typically full time males aged between 18 and 50 years. Shellfish employees are roughly 70% full time 30% casual/part time males aged 16 to 45 years. The Owners and or Managers of these enterprises fit into the 40 – 60 years bracket. (The processing and or value adding components of this sector are dealt with in the next category and hence not included in this group).

Employment for finfish is concentrated in South East Tasmania (Huon, D’Entrecasteaux, and Tasman Peninsula) with activity on the West (Strahan) and North Coast (Tamar). The marine farming operations side of salmonid farming directly employs approximately 300 and for shellfish approximately 300.

Staff turnover for both shellfish farms and salmonid farms coupled with modest growth will provide the demand for training. Employment growth will from now on roughly match production growth with an allowance for improved efficiency.

Normal drivers of training demand in this industry group

Salmonoid Sector –whilst some new sites are being developed in most cases this will be by using existing labour with some contractors. Huon Aquaculture, in developing new sites, increase staff numbers by about 15%.

Growing conditions in the last 12-18 months have been favourable for salmonid farming and allowed for less on water staff. The weather has a big effect on the numbers required to grow Salmonids and a continuous spell of unseasonably hot weather will increase the demand for skilled farm hands.

The aquaculture sector in particular is heavily regulated requiring licences to operate various pieces of equipment. The average fish farm hand requires a licence to operate a small vessel, a licence to operate a diesel motor, a first aid qualification, a marine radio licence, a fork lift licence, a non slewing crane licence, a stability qualification and an OH&S certificate. All these are legally enforceable by various statutory bodies in Tasmania.

Growth on the West Coast of Tasmania continues to present problems with the recruitment of skilled staff. Not all workers are keen to relocate to Strahan, from their current workplaces in the South East, when their enterprise offers the opportunity. This is further compounded by the booming mining sector, attracting many of the potential farm hands. Attrition remains high in this area.

Shellfish Sector – Whilst this sector has seen modest growth in terms of value over the last 10 years it is still optimistic regarding its future. Many farms have implemented new grading systems in recent years reducing labour costs and improving efficiency.

Demand is likely to be driven mainly by attrition and further development of underutilised water in existing lease areas. Licence requirements are a significant driver of training although not quite as much as in the Salmonid sector.

Changes occurring in demand for training

Whilst the need for fish farms to undertake more difficult, complex and varied underwater tasks remains, the management of Salmonid diving operations has changed significantly in the last 12-18 months.

The use of specialist dive teams rather than requiring most farms hands to dive has reduced the demand for the Occupational diving qualifications. Add to this the use of diving contractors and we have seen a huge drop in the demand for the occupational diving qualification in the last 12 months.

Salmonid farming practices of recent have required the use of the new larger vessels operated by holders of higher level licences and hence the increased demand for Transport and Distribution certificates III in Marine Engineering and Maritime Operations.

Increased and more complex lifting equipment have created a demand for machinery handling courses. Greater awareness of OH&S has increased the demand for wader safety courses. The planned implementation of the new food safety laws in May 2007 will create demand for a range of food safety units from the Seafood Industry Training package.

Changes required to the nature of training

The Seafood Training Package SFI04 is currently undergoing revision with the new version expected to be available in early 2007. (As at 06/11/06 the Seafood Training package review is on hold pending the future of the Agrifoods Skills Council)

The new version of the Maritime Training Package is now about one year overdue and expected late in early 2007. RTO’s will have to be ready to accommodate the changes incorporated within these new packages.

Early in 2007 would be an ideal time to promote the qualifications available from these two training packages.

The proposed Seafood Training Package will provide a greater choice of units within a qualification, new qualifications and more industry focus (including the new employability skills).

The availability of Competitive Bids funds in 2006 and TasSkills Investment Program funding from 2007 will improve access to much of the training by industry.

The target market for training

Training existing employees will remain significant especially for the Shellfish sector and hence not rely on State funding. In the Salmonid sector the demand on the public funding will come mainly from new entrants. These will be school leavers, people from interstate, graduates and job changers.

Unemployment remains at low levels in rural areas and traditional recruitment is more difficult requiring a wider net to be cast for suitable candidates.

Numbers of people that need to be trained – Aquaculture

Annual demand by region 2007-09

Fish Farm Attendants

Cert I in the SFI Aquaculture SFI10104 or TDM10101 Certificate I in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations)1



Fish Farm Attendants

Cert III in the SFI Aquaculture SFI30104





Fish Farm Supervisors

Cert IV in the SFI Aquaculture SFI40104





Commercial Divers – Aquaculture

6 unit skill set from Cert. III in the SFI Aquaculture (SFIDIVE-301A, 302A, 304A, 305A, 306A &307A)



Commercial Divers – Aquaculture

Cert IV in Occupational Diving (Onshore Diving Supervisor)

80440ACT: ACOO-1391



Commercial Divers – Aquaculture

The Certificate III in Occupational Diving, Advanced Underwater Work to 30m 80432ACT (AS2815.2R)



Machinery handling for fish farms

RTE3309A Operate Machinery in Adverse Conditions, RTC3310A Operate Specialised Machinery & Equipment & TDT1097B Forklift.





Wader Safety

Course in Use Waders Safely (Nat Code 69845)





Workplace Employee Safety Representative

Workplace Employee Safety Representative Certificate. Non accredited - WPS Tas requirement



Workplace Trainer & Assessor

Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104)



Coxswain Inc Coxswain Restricted 2

TDM20101 Certificate II in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations)






TDM30101 Certificate III in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations)





Marine Engine Driver Grade 3

TDM20201 Certificate II in Transport & Distribution (Marine Engine Driving)



Marine Engine Driver Grade 2

TDM30201 Certificate III in Transport & Distribution (Marine Engine Driving)



Marine Radio Licence (MROCP)

TDMME501A Transmit & Receive Information by Radio or Telephone. 3





Elements of Shipboard Safety

TDM10101Certificate I in Transport & Distribution (Maritime Operations) 5 units from Cert. II TDM 3





Senior First Aid

TDM10101Certificate I in Transport & Distribution 3 (Maritime Operations) unit from.





1The alternative TDM qualifications will be used in most cases.

2 These figures include the demand for Coxswain Restricted, and the endorsements for; 3 x 30 Nautical miles, Diesel and full Coxswain.

3 The demand given for these qualifications does not include these units when they will be delivered as part of another qualification. (eg. Coxswain)

Comments on any government funded training provision in excess of local industry needs

The TasSkills Investment program for 2007 for Occupational diving is in excess of current industry needs for those skills sets put out to tender.

Recommendations for the appropriate response by the training system

That existing employees have access to User Choice funding for new apprenticeships. Either fund existing employees or change the definition of “new” to include those employed for more than 3 months full time to an least those employed for one year full time.

The issues with the State funding of existing employees remain. The current definition states that an employee becomes “existing” after being employed full time for over three months or part time for over twelve months. This definition is not flexible enough for the employment practises of many enterprises where a trial period exceeding the above is common. The practice of offering current employees available traineeships first before new entrants is also usual resulting in otherwise eligible candidates being rendered existing.

Maintain the User Choice funding for;

  • SFI30104 Certificate III in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)

  • SFI40104 Certificate IV in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)

As the fish farmers are using larger multiple vessels, including those requiring higher level licenses, maintain the funding for,

  • TDM10101Certificate I in Transport and Distribution (Maritime Operations)

  • TDM20101 Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Maritime Operations)

  • TDM30101 Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Maritime Operations),

  • TDM20201 Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Marine Engine Driving)TDM30201,

  • TDM30201Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Marine Engine Driving)

  • Machinery handling for fish farms; RTE3309A Operate Machinery in Adverse Conditions, RTC3310A Operate Specialised Machinery and Equipment and TDT1097B Forklift.

  • Wader Safety; SRCAQU003A Respond to an Aquatic Emergency using basic water rescue techniques.

  • Food Safety Units SFI10504 (SFICORE101B, SFIFISH209B & FDFCORQAS2A)

Encourage greater participation in formal training through industry liaison groups. Invest in promotion of careers at school and workplace level.

Information on training demand being met outside the Tasmanian public system

As a significant percentage of traineeships are for existing employees these are funded by employers.

Under the existing Competitive bids program and the TasSkills Investment program for 2007 there is a participant contribution required for some qualifications of between 30% & 50% of the real cost of delivery.

Almost all the Salmonid farms undertake higher level and often non accredited training directed at team leaders, technical officers and managers. This is fully funded by the enterprises.

In 2005 and 2006 a number of Shellfish farmers took advantage of the Workforce Development Fund to determine and pay for a range of training needs to meet their management and licensing requirements.

All dive training other than the 6 unit skill set from Cert. III in the SFI Aquaculture (SFIDIVE-301A, 302A, 304A, 305A, 306A &307A) is 100% funded by the enterprises. For the above base qualification the funding is roughly 25% State 75% enterprise, being Fees, Travel/accommodation & wages)

There is a large amount of specialist technical and management training in the Aquaculture (farming & processing) sector delivered outside the training package framework.

In 2006 the Joint Commonwealth State Government initiative “Farmbis” provided a subsidy of 60% of the training costs for;

    • OH&S for Oyster Farmers,

    • Advanced feeding systems for Salmonids,

    • Workplace trainers and assessors,

    • Sea Safety for Fishermen and Fish Farmers,

For 2007 onwards (funds permitting) there will be both accredited and non accredited training offered under the Farmbis regime. Training for management, HACCP, Food Safety, OH&S, supervisors will probably be funded in future years.

Additional industry advice not directly related to industry demand for training

Tasmania has had for many years by far the greatest participation rate of any state in traineeship qualifications from the Seafood Training Package. This has been the result of a coordinated approach by RTO's, NAC’s and aquaculture enterprises to ensure that the right training takes place at the right time for the right cost!

The participation rate may decrease slightly in the future as the result of an industry maturing (more stable workforce).

The Tasmanian Aquaculture sector now sees training as integral to its ongoing success. This is a pleasing result and probably unique in the Australian Seafood Industry. A very high percentage of both new finfish and new shellfish farmers undertake a Cert III in the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture).

The loss of the Commonwealth Incentive payment for rural & regional skill shortages for fish farmers has made employing a trainee less attractive especially when no User Choice funds are available. There remains a skill shortage for Certificate III in the SFI aquaculture in Tasmania. The ability to establish skill shortages in individual states should be restored.

All licensed aquaculture enterprises were surveyed as part of preparing this report. One survey question related to the impact of the proposed Gunns pulp mill. The responses indicated that, for 75% of respondents, there would be little or no impact on their operations. Of those who said the mill would have an impact, 50% stated that it would harm Tasmania’s image and 50% said it would make it more difficult to recruit and maintain staff. About 20% of license holders responded.

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