A historic collaboration between the Young Livestock Exporters Network (YLEN) and LiveCorp has seen the training course for on-board live export stockpersons held in Darwin for the first time in over a decade.
“Exporters draw a lot of stockmen and women from stations in the Northern Territory, but we traditionally had to send them to Fremantle to get accredited,” YLEN chair Kari Moffat said.
“That obviously brings with it a lot of costs and has been a barrier to getting great people off stations and onto ships – particularly for the younger generation.”
Sixteen of the participants were sponsored through YLEN via Meat & Livestock Australia and a grant from the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.
Ms Moffat, who is also Livestock Sustainability Manager for exporter AUSTREX, said the collaboration between industry bodies and government served as an example of how these organisations can work together to build industry resilience and capacity.
“Working on vessels is a great way to start a career in the live export industry. My pathway in this industry started doing voyages as a stocky and it’s the same for many others who are now leaders in the live trade.”
“In today’s livestock export industry, on-board stockies have never been more important. Ensuring there are pathways for young people to be able to learn these skills is vital to the sustainability of the industry.”
A new focus on buffalo Bringing the course to the Northern Territory for the first time provided an ideal opportunity to boost the buffalo component of the course.
Participants had the unique opportunity to learn firsthand about best practice buffalo handling from NT Buffalo Industry Council president, Adrian Phillips out at Annaburroo Station.
“The volume of buffalo exports is growing, so ensuring we have skilled, competent buffalo handlers on vessels and throughout the live export supply chain is absolutely vital,” Mr Phillips said.
The practical day also included cattle handling at the Berrimah Export Yards, as well a visit to Darwin Port to view a ship being loaded with cattle.
The week-long course also included classroom sessions on regulatory requirements, animal health and treatments, plus advice for adapting to life on board. Building industry resilience
Through funding from the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, YLEN added a focus on building drought resilience and networks to the usual program.
Presentations by The Livestock Collective and the Northern Australia Climate Program added an opportunity to highlight the role of live exports as an alternate market when farm turn-off is high during times of drought, and in supporting off-farm employment throughout the supply chain.
The opportunity for YLEN members and other participants to network and build relationships was a highlight.
Several former stockies joined the group for an afternoon, providing insights into their own career progression into other roles within export companies and the opportunities that exist in the industry.
“The participants recognised the chance to undertake this course in Darwin was an amazing opportunity.
“Much of the cost of attending the course was offset thanks to the funding we received, as well as the location, so the help from YLEN made it more affordable for young people.
“This has broadened so many horizons, particularly for career opportunities,” Ms Moffat said.
On the back the strong industry support the course received, LiveCorp is now in the process of reviewing the pilot and how any future courses in Darwin may work.