Education and Training

PCA Training Partners

PCA recognises an imperative in developing partnerships with Registered Training Organisations (RTO) to provide:

  • opportunities for accredited training
  • the development of new industry training units
  • encouragement of regular trainer workshops to maintain consistency and industry relevance (at biennial industry conference)
  • recognition that strong partnerships can lead to strong membership that
  • builds industry capacity.

Industry Background

The Australian protected cropping industry is a major contributor to the Australian economy, with a gross farm‐gate value estimated around $1.3 billion that is currently equivalent to around 20% of all vegetable and flower production.

Combining all sectors (retail, service providers, research, etc), the industry contributes around $1.8billion annually to the national economy. Protected cropping is a robust and successful farm sector that currently employs over 10,000 throughout Australia which has achieved productivity growth of 4‐6% per annum over the past ten years. It is the adoption of new technologies over the last decade which has improved production and profitability leading to the assessment that glasshouse production is the modern face of horticulture. The industry also enjoys a strong reputation for more efficient water and energy usage combined with significantly reduced impacts on the natural environment due to the increased efficiencies of closed and controlled production systems including a much reduced land footprint. (compared to traditional farming

Of around 4,090 Australian vegetable farmers, ±29% of all vegetable growers farm in some form of Protected Cropping. (AusVeg June 2008). Therefore protected cropping is already well entrenched in Australia. The potential market is seen as strong with stable returns and as a consequence, there has been significant industry growth in modern systems since 2006.

A common theme running though the industry is a lack of training and skilling options for all levels of participants. A review of the protected cropping industry performed by Protected Cropping Australia explored market failures and constraints to industry development with the main industry representatives in all Australian states. This review resulted in identification of a number of issues that urgently require attention, with the number one common issue being a lack of skills training opportunities. There are currently no ‘school to industry’ pathways (to encourage horticultural students to pursue careers in our industry), or specific hydroponic production modules (units & competencies) within the national curriculum framework, but rather some limited sub‐units within other horticultural production units. This failure will only be rectified with industry support for grower skilling that has the capability to lift productivity and capacity across the entire industry.

Skills training at all levels is necessary to underpin industry development & growth and currently many growers are required to travel to overseas training institutions (most notably in the Netherlands) to receive tuition in this specialised area, and at significant cost. Our growers operate in a global economy with fierce competition from exporting nations that have access to full training programs at all levels.

The PCA intends to address this industry shortfall through development of strategic partnerships with suitable RTO’s and provide the following guidelines for your consideration.

PCA Training Partnership Agreement Guidelines

  • PCA to provide opportunities for RTO to communicate with industry via its extensive networks (inc. email database, Soilless Australia and biennial conferences)
  • Partners to be accredited RTO’s (and maintain that accreditation)
  • All courses and training resources to be accredited and aligned with national curriculum units.
  • All presented material to contain content deemed acceptable and preapproved by the PCA
  • Agreement’s to be for period of 2 years and reviewed bi‐annually
  • RTO partner commits to maintaining at least 1 full PCA membership for period of agreement.
  • RTO partner commits to enrolling each student as a PCA Student Member (equivalent to Associate membership) at the rate of $100 (+GST) with no joining fee
  • RTO partner commits to 1 x yearly (minimum) advert & advertorial in the national magazine (Soilless Australia) at standard commercial rates less 10%
  • RTO Partner may provide to PCA an email which, subject to PCA approval, can be broadcast by PCA to its industry information database (contains approx 2,000 extensive national and international contacts) at $150 (+GST) each broadcast.
  • Approved RTO’s to be nominated as a ‘PCA Training Partner’ for duration of the agreement (subject to above conditions)
  • Specialist ‘PCA Training Partner’ logo to be supplied for RTO’s to use in their marketing. (see logo below)
  • PCA to provide Training Partners a free link in a specially created ‘Training Partner’ section of the website (your logo and brief intro)
  • PCA to provide Training Partners letters of industry support to approved training development or project funding applications
  • PCA to provide Training Partners an opportunity to host a board member (at RTO place of business) for 1 day a year to introduce the benefits of industry membership and provide an industry overview (travel expenses at cost to be borne by RTO)
  • This is a ‘non‐exclusive’ agreement and equivalent opportunities will be provided to other RTO’s
  • Any PCA Training Partner applicants to be pre‐approved by existing PCA general membership via email broadcast
  • PCA to consider developing a 3 month intern program with partner enterprises for ‘on the job’ experience for students
  • PCA reserves the right to cancel this agreement with 2 weeks written notice

The PCA would be pleased to receive applications from suitably qualified RTO’s to act as a ‘PCA Training Partner’ (subject to above conditions).


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PCA Training Partners Agreement 2013 to apply

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