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Specialised5 and in-shortage occupations

This section focuses on current skills shortages in specific occupations related to the Agriculture industry as well as those occupations that are specialised. The Department’s analysis of skill shortages considers both quantitative evidence and intelligence gathered through industry consultation.

Highlighted below are the occupations within the Agriculture industry that are deemed to be specialised and/or in shortage.
Agricultural Consultant is identified as a specialised occupation in Victoria. The use of agricultural consultants is widespread with farms increasingly contracting key areas of technical and professional expertise on an ‘as needs basis’. Ongoing shortages of professionals cited by enterprises and industry bodies particularly in relation to irrigation design and changes to land and water use and pressures remain on natural resource management, lifting yields and sustainability.6
After being in persistent shortage for the five years to 2011, recruitment of agricultural consultants/scientists was markedly easier than it was in 2011, with the vast majority of vacancies filled without employers having to compromise on their requirements for qualifications, skills and experience. In 2012, 87 per cent of surveyed vacancies were filled (compared with 45 per cent in 2011) and there were 2.5 suitable applicants per vacancy (compared with 1.4 in 2011).


Consultant Skills Shortage

Specialised Occupation


Agricultural Scientist is identified as a specialised and in-shortage occupation in Victoria. There is a long standing national shortage of agronomists leading to recruitment from overseas. Primarily a higher education occupation, however, there is a growing demand for graduates to undertake the Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Agriculture to gain ‘hands on’ experience and for degree offerings to become far more integrated into ‘real work’.7

Agricultural Scientists

(inc. Agronomist)

Skills Shortage

Specialised Occupation

Metal Casting Tradespersons (Farrier) were previously identified as an in-shortage occupation in Victoria in 2012 and while shortages have eased this occupation is on the skill shortages watch list for 2013.

  1. DEECD used the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (formerly Skills Australia) list of specialised occupations. These occupations have a long lead-time for training, high economic value and a significant match between training and employment.

  2. Agrifood E-Scan (2013).

  3. Agrifood E-Scan (2013).

Industry vocational training provision

This section focuses on government subsidised vocational training across the main Agriculture occupations in Victoria. It covers enrolments in vocational training activity over the period 2008 to 2012 by course and qualification level, the most popular courses undertaken, funding patterns, regional training activity and student characteristics.

Summary points

    • In 2012, there were around 8,800 Agriculture-specific government-subsidised course enrolments across Victoria; an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year, and 42 per cent since 2008. Alongside these, there were also a further 2,900 TAFE fee-for-service enrolments

    • In 2012, there were 38 registered training providers delivering Agriculture-related courses, of which 29 were responsible for 10 or more enrolments. TAFEs accounted for 65 per cent of 2012 enrolments, private providers – 34 per cent and ACE providers – 1 per cent

    • The Agriculture sector is supported by qualifications covered in five national training packages, under the responsibility of Agrifood. The Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package accounts for the largest number of Agriculture-specific qualifications

    • There are currently only three occupations within the Agriculture sector that are identified as either specialised or ‘in shortage’ across Victoria – Agricultural Consultant, Agricultural Scientist and Farrier. Based on both 2012 enrolment levels, and those of previous years, there currently seems to be good alignment of enrolment numbers across the State to these occupations

    • Over the five years to 2012, the proportion of enrolments at the Certificate III level increased from 40 per cent (in 2008) to 51 per cent (in 2012). Alongside this, there has been a corresponding decline in the proportion of enrolments in Certificate II and Diploma level qualifications. Enrolments in Diploma-level qualifications in 2012 represented 10 per cent of all Agriculture enrolments, compared to 21 per cent in 2008

    • In 2012, 95 per cent of all location-specific Agriculture enrolments were delivered across Regional Victoria and 6 per cent across Metropolitan Melbourne. Barwon South West attracted the largest number of enrolments in 2012 (around 3,100), followed by Loddon Mallee (2,000) and Hume (1,900). Between 2011 and 2012, enrolments have more than doubled in Loddon Mallee, but decreased by 37 per cent across the Melbourne Metropolitan area

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