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Skilled workforce support for the wine industry

The Queensland Government and the State’s wine industry are combining forces to ensure the industry plays a key role in the state’s economy … and that anyone tasting the product will be getting a drop of the best Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial Relations Tom Barton said it was evident from extensive consultation with people involved in the wine industry that clear objectives and a strategic direction for the future, coupled with ongoing government support, were vital. “The Department of Employment and Training is supporting the development of a Skill Formation Strategy so we can work with the industry and help them identify and address the complex issues that affect the availability of skilled workers,” Barton said. “This initiative will ensure the wine industry’s long-term viability for employers and workers alike.” Sunshine Coast teacher Heidi Bracko has been appointed skills formation strategy project officer – wine industry. Queensland Wine Industry Association president Maryanne Pidcock said Bracko, who will be based in Toowoomba for her new position, had direct industry experience as a winery and cellar door manager in a Queensland winery, as well as recent skills in vocational training. “She has been teaching at the Cooloola Sunshine Institute of TAFE and comes from a wine industry background in South Australia,” Pidcock said. “She has a sound understanding of the strengths and many challenges the Queensland wine industry faces. “Her role is to work with all stakeholders to identify and address current skills shortages and other workforce issues as well as to help prevent future problems in these areas.” Bracko said she strongly believed that training was the key to improving industry growth and skill levels. “I am also aware of the need for the industry to address issues that affect the attraction and retention of skilled workers — because without this, training for the industry will be lost,” Bracko said. The Skills Formation Strategy involves identifying causes of skills shortages in an industry and developing and implementing appropriate solutions. Barton said key stakeholders in the wine industry would work together, with the government’s support, to take responsibility for skills acquisition and retention of a skilled workforce. “The project officer will work with industry, government agencies, training providers and supply chains to help develop training and non-training solutions to skills shortages,” Barton said.

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