QATC Transition news

11 September 2019 update

Students

All students are on track to either complete their studies with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) or to be transitioned to another Registered Training Organisation (RTO) by 6 December 2019.

The 13 Northern Beef Industries Program (NBIP) and Livestock and Station Skills students held a graduation ceremony at the Emerald Agricultural College on Friday 27 September.

Staff

Staff are accessing the Employee Assistance Package, which is providing reskilling support and assistance with preparation for interviews. A number of staff have already secured new employment roles, predominately in regional Queensland. Support for staff will continue throughout the transition process.

In some cases, other Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have expressed interest in offering courses previously offered by QATC, with the potential for some staff to continue providing training through these RTOs.

The Project Management Office (PMO) would like to publicly recognise the professionalism of the QATC staff as they demonstrate their commitment to the students and to QATC during the ‘teach out’ period.

Longreach and Emerald colleges

Planning continues for the repurposing of the Longreach and Emerald colleges. The PMO has spoken with each proponent of the shortlisted proposals for each campus, with the next meetings of the local community stakeholder committees to be held in Emerald and Longreach on the 20 and 21 November 2019.

Tailored operating models are being considered for each campus, with development of business cases underway.  The interest has centred on a multi-user model in both locations, to support the provision of vocational education, training, and research in agriculture and other industries, as well as commercial uses to underpin sustainability for the future.

The Longreach and Emerald Local Community Stakeholder Committees met on the 10 and 11 September respectively. The PMO responded to queries with as much detail as possible, mindful that negotiations are still underway and that processes must be navigated before any public announcement of the likely outcomes.

12 August 2019 update

The communiques keep our readers informed of progress in the transition of students, staff and assets of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC).

Previous updates and background information are available at the QATC web page https://www.qatc.edu.au/2019-transition/project-management-office/

Student transition

Students remain on track to complete their studies with Queensland Agricultural Training College (QATC) in 2019, with a small number of students transferring to another training entity to complete their studies. Any students with concerns about completion of their scheduled training plans are urged to contact QATC as soon as possible.

QATC are developing a plan to transfer, store and preserve physical and digital student records to ensure ongoing access to the records is available.

Staff transition

An Employee Assistance Package is being rolled out to QATC staff, and 144 individual career coaching sessions have been conducted so far.  Group workshops in Toowoomba, Townsville, Emerald and Longreach have also helped to smooth the process and have resulted in positive feedback from staff. We are continuing to receive and process applications for staff to access funding from the Employee Assistance Package for training.

The staff consultative committee meets regularly to table issues needing a response from QATC and/or the PMO.

TAFE Queensland’s expressions-of-interest process for admission to their staff talent pool closed on 31 July 2019.

Longreach and Emerald colleges

The fourth meetings of the Local Community Stakeholder Committees (LCSCs) were held in Longreach on 30 July 2019 and Emerald on 31 July 2019.

Proposals had been previously invited from businesses, organisations and individuals.

All proposal summaries received by the PMO were shared in the strictest confidence to the meeting attendees and collected again at the end. Each proposal was discussed and evaluated by the LCSC against their self-developed five guiding principles, agreed at previous meetings.

A shortlist of six proposals was prepared for each campus, consisting of primary stakeholders who have the capability to coordinate a partnership model, and secondary stakeholders who can complement the proposed activities. Other proposals that had the potential for collaboration, or were suitable to be discussed with the potential future tenants were noted.

The committee chairs explained the next steps of the process would be for the PMO to meet with each of the shortlisted proponents and later in group workshops at each location to negotiate and develop options for an operating model. This model would be the basis for economic feasibility and due diligence processes to inform development of the transition plan.

A draft potential future operating plan will be presented to the next meetings of the LCSCs, scheduled for Tuesday 10 September 2019 in Longreach and Wednesday 11 September 2019 in Emerald.

Statewide satellite hubs engagement and transition 

A Rural Skills and Jobs Alliance (RJSA) meeting was held on Monday 29 July 2019 with representation from QATC and the PMO.

Following an update from the PMO and discussion of feedback received from the Queensland Agriculture Workers Network, the RJSA agreed that in order for industry to offer advice on possible solutions, they should wait until the release of the draft plan to allow a better assessment of the training market landscape.

RJSA members will continue to consider emergent issues with the satellite locations and keep RJSA staff informed.

Discussions between the PMO, QATC and other RTOs are ongoing.

Archives and memorabilia

QATC has formed a network of staff to assist with archiving education, human resources and corporate records and preserve any memorabilia—including photographs, documents and trophies. The Longreach Past Students and Staff Association has offered to assist with the memorabilia.

9 July 2019 update

Stakeholder update

The transition stakeholder update aims to keep interested parties informed of progress in the transition of students, staff and assets of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) throughout 2019.

Previous updates and background information are available by scrolling further down this page

Student transition

Students remain on track to complete their studies with Queensland Agricultural Training College (QATC) this year. QATC staff are preparing for the timely submission of students’ results to enable academic outcomes to be recorded and certificates awarded.

Students and schools will receive an update from QATC in July about their progress towards completion. Students are urged to make contact with QATC if they believe amendments will be needed to their planned completion dates.

Any student who is not scheduled to complete their studies in 2019 will be supported to transition to another Registered Training Organisation (RTO)—many have already transitioned.

Staff transition

An Employee Assistance Package is being rolled out to QATC staff, with approximately 50% of eligible staff contacted so far to participate in one-on-one career coaching/counselling. The group workshop dates below have been set for rollout in July:

  • 15 July 2019 Toowoomba
  • 18 July 2019 Emerald
  • 23 July 2019 Longreach
  • 23 July 2019 Townsville

Each eligible staff member will be offered two individual career coaching/counselling sessions to develop individual plans and they will be supported to attend the group workshops, with travel costs covered where needed.

TAFE Queensland have called for expressions of interest for staff for 2020, with other RTOs also signalling their intention to do similarly.

Longreach and Emerald colleges

The third meetings of the Local Community Stakeholder Committees (LCSCs) were held in Emerald on 26 June 2019 and Longreach on 3 July 2019.

The PMO conducted a public expression of interest process calling for future proposals to use the Emerald and Longreach College facilities. A total of 22 proposals were received for Emerald and 24 for Longreach from a diverse range of organisations such as education, research, private entities, agricultural, government and not for profit organisations.

A summary of the concepts and future use of the assets has been provided to each committee for discussion. The proposals are largely in line with the committee’s priorities and guiding principles.

Longreach Local Community Stakeholder Committee guiding principles

  • An operational model that is a sustainable balance of commercial opportunities ensuring regional benefit.
  • Appropriate utilisation of the assets by all key stakeholders.
  • Community interests and engagement reflected in the overarching supervisions, governance and management of the college assets and operations.
  • Provide industry relevant training, research and development, and education pathways.
  • A facility that provides affordable and relevant courses and is accessible by rural, urban, interstate and international students.

(Key stakeholders including three levels of government, industry and community)

Emerald Local Community Stakeholder Committee guiding principles

  • A hub concept partnership model that incorporates diverse industries, commercial interests and is responsive to the community.
  • A focus on RD&E in relevant industry sectors that focuses on collaboration, adoption and commercialisation with and by end users.
  • Demand-driven, flexible and contemporary training and education pathways that are responsive to industry and the community’s needs and priorities.
  • A positive contribution to the full utilisation of the college’s assets.
  • Financially viable operation that ensures longterm sustainability.

A key focus for the PMO for July is to work with the proponents to build more detail around the proposals and develop possible options for an operating model that will propose how the different entities and groups might work together.

The Local Community Stakeholder Committee will assess the proposals and advise the alignment of the proposals with the guiding principles (as above) at their next meetings.

The next meetings of the LCSCs will occur in Longreach on 30 July 2019 and Emerald on 31 July 2019. A communique will again be shared following the meetings on request from any LCSC member.

Statewide satellite hubs engagement and transition

The Rural Skills & Jobs Alliance (RJSA) has met with the PMO and QATC to discuss the provision of industry feedback to address any potential training delivery gaps in the regionally-based satellite hubs arising directly from the QATC closure.

QATC provided data on courses offered through each hub and baseline student completion rates.  QFF also provided an analysis of the enrolments and training providers per region from Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) data. The PMO tabled the list of potential and perceived gaps identified through the QATC Satellite Hubs staff consultation process.

The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) officers have submitted their feedback to the PMO on potential gaps and possible opportunities in satellite hub areas resulting directly from closure of the QATC entity. This feedback will be tabled at the next RJSA meeting.

RJSA members will continue to consult with their stakeholders to assess the impact of the closures and feed their advice into the QATC transition planning process.

For more information

Please contact us at qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.au

For further information on the QATC transition process, please contact Alison Mobbs, Director, QATC Transition Project Management Office (PMO), Longreach on 07 4536 8374 or 0436 808 827 or alison.mobbs@daf.qld.gov.au.

Previous updates and background information are available by scrolling further down this page.

18 June 2019 update

Stakeholder update

Reminder

Proposals for future use of the QATC Ag Colleges in Longreach and Emerald are due by the 25 June 2019.

We want to:

  • Repurpose the assets and facilities for commercial, sustainable use
  • Re-invigorate training opportunities in central western Queensland

If you have an interest, proposals are invited until 25 June 2019.

Email: qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.auPhone: Roche Angon 4536 8385 or Alison Mobbs 0436 808 827

Previous updates and background information are available by scrolling further down this page.

27 May 2019 update

Stakeholder update

The Project Management Office (PMO) is pleased to provide this stakeholder update to inform interested parties of progress in the transition of students, staff and assets of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) throughout 2019. Previous updates and background information are available at the QATC web page. Please email the PMO at qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.au if you would like further information.

Student transition

Student transition planning is well underway, with all students set to complete their studies with QATC during 2019 or be transitioned to an alternate training provider. QATC staff are closely monitoring student completions and have in place processes for awarding of certificates prior to the end of 2019.

Staff transition

The PMO has worked with QATC and unions, through the Consultative Committee process to develop and monitor a staff transition plan to support access to assistance for staff impacted by the closure of the QATC entity.

Alongside the regular Employee Assistance Program that is available to staff, a contractor will be appointed to implement a QATC Employee Assistance Scheme.

Longreach and Emerald colleges

The second meetings of the Local Community Stakeholder Committees (LCSCs) were held in Emerald on 16 May 2019 and Longreach on 17 May 2019.

Using the priorities that were established at their first meetings, the LCSCs agreed upon a set of guiding principles to capture the intent of the committees and the communities.

The guiding principles will form the basis of an evaluation matrix that will help to guide consideration of proposals put forward for future use of the college facilities.

Longreach Local Community Stakeholder Committee guiding principles

  • An operational model that is a sustainable balance of commercial opportunities ensuring regional benefit.
  • Appropriate utilisation of the assets by all key stakeholders.
  • Community interests and engagement reflected in the overarching supervisions, governance and management of the college assets and operations.
  • Provide industry relevant training, research and development, and education pathways.
  • A facility that provides affordable and relevant courses and is accessible by rural, urban, interstate and international students.

(Key stakeholders including three levels of government, industry and community)

Emerald Local Community Stakeholder Committee guiding principles

  • A hub concept partnership model that incorporates diverse industries, commercial interests and is responsive to the community.
  • A focus on RD&E in relevant industry sectors that focuses on collaboration, adoption and commercialisation with and by end users.
  • Demand-driven, flexible and contemporary training and education pathways that are responsive to industry and the community’s needs and priorities.
  • A positive contribution to the full utilisation of the college’s assets.
  • Financially viable operation that ensures longterm sustainability.

The committees also requested some guiding questions for proposals to be included in a call for proposals document to be circulated by committee members, based on the public call for proposals advertised in the Longreach Leader, CQ News and Queensland Country Life.

The call for proposals documents are available here:

Interested parties should email their proposal to qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.au by 25 June 2019.

Members of the QATC Transition PMO team attended the Longreach Show on 18 May and were pleased to participate in the Longreach Regional Council’s Advancing Agriculture forum. The team will also be in attendance at AgGrow in Emerald 20–22 June 2019.

The next meetings of the LCSCs will occur in Emerald on 26 June 2019 and Longreach on 3 July 2019. A communique will again be shared following the meetings.

Statewide satellite hubs engagement and transition

A consultation with QATC satellite hub staff will take place to identify potential gaps in training delivery options for future students in satellite hub areas due to the wind up of QATC and to collect ideas and suggestions for the future delivery of vet training in hub areas from a staff perspective.

The PMO will attend the Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association (ICPA) state conference in Charters Towers on 5 and 6 June 2019 to provide an update on transition activities and processes and be available to answer questions from delegates.

For more information

Email your ideas, proposals and feedback to us at qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.au

DAF PMO Liaison officers can be contacted directly

For further information on the QATC transition process, please contact Alison Mobbs, Director, QATC Transition Project Management Office (PMO), Longreach on 0436 808 827 or alison.mobbs@daf.qld.gov.au

Previous updates and background information are available by scrolling further down this page.

7 May 2019 update

Stakeholder update

Student transition

Currently enrolled QATC students are being supported to either complete their studies with QATC in 2019 or transition to an alternate provider.

The Horsemanship and Breeding program students at the Longreach College will complete their course in June, with the Northern Beef Industries Program students at Emerald College heading off to their six week practical placements in July, on track to complete their studies in 2019.

At this stage, with the ceasing of enrolments, most current students at the statewide satellite hubs will have completed their studies in 2019, with a few exceptions. Transitional arrangements for these students are being progressed by QATC, with student transfers required for veterinary and meat apprenticeships to the student’s choice of provider scheduled to occur by 30 June 2019.

Staff transition

In April, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner announced an employee assistance scheme for staff affected by the wind down of the QATC entity, which includes 'job search' support, retraining and skills support, as well as special leave and travel assistance.

Up to $500 000 will be available for the scheme, supporting almost 100 existing staff employed by QATC to help secure new jobs and find local employment elsewhere in their communities.

A contractor will be appointed to conduct individual interviews, group training and to develop individual assistance plans with all eligible staff members.

Longreach and Emerald Colleges

The first meetings of the Local Community Stakeholder Committees (LCSCs) were held in Longreach on 8 April and Emerald on 10 April.

The LCSCs discussed committee make-up, expectations of the committee, processes for the transition and looked at the data collected in the initial engagement phase of the project that identified what is important to stakeholders, both during the transition process and in the future.

An overview of the history of Longreach Pastoral College was shared by the PMO, with input from Rosemary Champion, John Arnold and Belinda Rowbotham. Further information will be sought from Boyd Webb, Rob Carr and others to supplement the information.

An overview of the history of Emerald Agricultural College was compiled by the PMO and shared, from interviews with Tony Hawk (ex-student), Ian Burnett (ex-student and previous College Board member), Mike McCosker (ex-student, staff, and Chairman of Board). Further information will be sought from committee members to finalise this document.

The LCSCs identified and prioritised what was important to the representative organisations and the community, building on the PMO’s engagement and consultations.

The top 10 priorities for the Longreach LCSC are to:

  • train young people in industry-relevant agriculture (what industry wants, demand driven)
  • seek all sustainable commercial opportunities, e.g. council, school camps, machinery tickets
  • provide affordable options for students
  • allow diversification of training, not just agriculture
  • ensure a balanced investment between industry and government
  • gain the support of industry-respected staff
  • ensure key industry stakeholders embedded in the decision-making process
  • be accessible by urban, interstate and international young people
  • provide pathways to university training, tertiary / vocational
  • build curriculum content sustainable to employers’ needs in industries, ensuring high credibility of product (accredited and non-accredited).

The top 10 priorities for the Emerald LCSC are to:

  • bring stakeholders together so there is something greater than a single institution—hub concept
  • continue research, development and extension* (amalgamation of R&D 5 priorities)
  • provide flexible training delivery model responsive to industry needs and priorities
  • have diversity in training options, including for other industries
  • collaborate with private industry for commercialisation
  • fully utilise assets
  • proposals to be economically viable and demand driven
  • support business management training
  • be pathways across industries driven from high school starting point
  • include residential boarding facilities at high school level

These priorities will form the basis of five guiding principles for each college, which will be used by the PMO in the assessment and validation of ideas and partnerships put forward for proposed future use of each facility.

The next meetings of the LCSCs will occur in Emerald on 16 May and Longreach on 17 May. A communique will be shared following the meetings.

Members of the QATC Transition PMO team will attend the Longreach Show on 18 May to participate in the Longreach Regional Council’s Advancing Agriculture forum and to share information about the transition process within the Advancing Agriculture marquee.

A process has commenced to seek commercial proposals and training options for partnership opportunities for the use of Agricultural College facilities in Longreach and Emerald.

The process will ensure that all possible options are appropriately explored. Interested parties should email their proposal to qatc_pmo@daf.qld.gov.au by 25 June 2019.

Statewide satellite hubs engagement and transition

The PMO have engaged with a range of stakeholders, including TAFE Queensland, the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Agforce Queensland, Central Queensland University, Regional Development Australia Central West Fitzroy, Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network officers, the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance and QATC staff and students.

The PMO will be guided by input from these stakeholders to address any gaps created by the wind-down of the QATC entity in providing vocational training for industry and to the students who would usually have enrolled through the QATC statewide satellite hubs.

The PMO will attend the Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association (ICPA) state conference in Charters Towers in early June to provide an update on transition activities and processes and be available to answer questions from delegates.

Background

Successive Queensland Governments have made considerable efforts to improve the relevance and performance of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) and have invested considerable funding to keep them operating.

As a result of declining student numbers and successive deficits, Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake was engaged to provide recommendations on how to grow the vocational education, training and skills sector in central-western Queensland.

The purpose of the review was to optimise the government’s investment in vocational education and training in the region to ensure employers have access to a skilled workforce and prospective students can access local quality training and employment opportunities.

The Queensland Government considered Professor Coaldrake’s recommendations and decided to close the QATC at the end of 2019 and repurpose the colleges’ facilities.

This means the QATC business entity will cease to manage the significant assets currently owned by the QATC at that time. The Queensland Government will be guided by local community members and organisations about how to best repurpose the use of these assets and facilities to benefit the whole training delivery scenario for all central-western Queensland industries, including agriculture.

This decision was not taken lightly and the government is committed to engaging widely with local communities, businesses and education providers to determine the best way to repurpose the available training facilities and assets, so they can be used more effectively.

March 2019 update

A designated DAF Project Management Office (PMO) has been established to deliver the Queensland Government’s response to the Coaldrake Review.  Charles Burke has been appointed as the Executive Director leading the DAF PMO and Alison Mobbs has been appointed as Director for the DAF PMO and based in Longreach.

DAF PMO liaison officers have also been appointed in Longreach and Emerald. Roche Angon comes to the DAF PMO team from QATC in Longreach and Alicia Dunbar from DAF Emerald.

A key function of the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) Transition DAF PMO is to develop an Economic Transition Strategy for college staff, students and assets.

Longreach and Emerald Colleges

As part of the process for determining the Economic Transition Strategy, local community stakeholder committees in Longreach and Emerald have been appointed. The committees will provide advice and input into the development of the strategy.

Representatives from key stakeholder organisations have been invited to nominate delegates to participate in local community stakeholder committees (LCSC).

Public meetings, held in Longreach and Emerald in the last week of March, provided an information update on transition activities and determined the community representatives for the local community stakeholder committees.

The committees will be chaired by Charles Burke, with membership as follows:

Longreach Local Community Stakeholder Committee

Cr Trevor Smith Longreach Regional Council
Cr Tony Rayner Longreach Regional Council
Cr Rob Chandler Remote Area Planning and Development Board
Kristine Arnold Remote Area Planning and Development Board
Belinda Rowbotham Longreach Pastoral College Past Students and Staff Association
Phillip Stiles Longreach Pastoral College, QATC College Staff
Donald Brown AgForce Queensland
Peter Smith AgForce Queensland
Liza Cameron Longreach State High School
Peter Homan OQTA Longreach Tourism
Louise Martin Community - State Vice President ICPA, sheep producer, past student, Tambo
Boyd Webb Community - Local grazier, Muttaburra
Jacquetta Arnold Community - Past QATC employee, Longreach local

Emerald Local Community Stakeholder Committee

Cr Kerry Hayes Central Highlands Regional Council
Cr Gail Godwin Smith Central Highlands Regional Council
Sandra Hobbs Central Highlands Development Corporation
Liz Alexander Central Highlands Development Corporation
Prof Helen Huntly CQ University
Prof Grant Stanley CQ University
Rachele Malone QATC Emerald College Staff
Ian Burnett AgForce Queensland
Peter Smith AgForce Queensland
Aaron Kiely Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators
Shari Barwick Resources Industry
Ray Clarke Emerald Region Schools - State
Mark Green Emerald Region Schools ? Catholic
Graeme Johnston Emerald Region Schools - Christian Colleges
Janice Moriarty Community - Emerald Neighbourhood Centre
Simone Parker Community - CHRRUP
Alistair Malone Community - Ag industry
Geoff Dein Community - AgGrow
Andrew Hawkins Community - Past Student, long term local
Jenny Ryan Community - QCWA Blackwater
Matthew Barnes Community - Ag industry / Tinkelara

The transition PMO looks forward to working with stakeholders to identify ways to grow the vocational education, training and skills sector in central-western Queensland, including through leveraging existing educational offerings and facilities. The outcome will help to boost economic growth and regional resilience for the Emerald and Longreach communities and regions.

Statewide

The DAF PMO and the executive of QATC are working closely and collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition of staff, students and assets. To date, DAF PMO team members have visited most of the regional hubs and both colleges, meeting with staff, students and other stakeholders from Walkamin to Dalby.

The DAF PMO have engaged a range of stakeholders including TAFE Queensland, the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Agforce Queensland, Central Queensland University, Regional Development Australia Central West Fitzroy, Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network officers, the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance as well as QATC staff and students.

The Economic Transition Strategy will develop a plan for the future use of all QATC educational and production assets and resources. During the ‘teach-out’ period of 2019, QATC facilities will remain open and be fully maintained. Timing for the repurposing of these assets will depend on elements of the strategy being finalised and agreed by key stakeholders.