Dates announced for picker operator training for QLD

Dates have been released for the series of cotton picker training workshops being run in cotton growing regions across Queensland as part of the state government’s micro-credential skills program.

Cotton Australia secured Queensland (QLD) Government funding to deliver a series of task-specific workshops, aimed at providing valuable training in rural and regional centres throughout the state.

Paul Sloman, Cotton Australia’s workforce policy officer said the $168,000 (ex-GST) is enabling the upskilling of Queenslanders at 10 workshops to address workplace skills shortages for cotton growers.

“This training is task specific in that it will help workers to operate cotton pickers which are technologically advanced pieces of machinery, worth in excess of $1.5m each. They demand skills that this training will help deliver.”

The training, delivered by Troy Smith from Real Skills Ag Training, will enable Queensland staff from cotton growing businesses to be upskilled in cotton picker operations. The workshops will see a heavy focus on safety, problem solving and general operation of all models of John Deere round module building cotton pickers. Participants will receive season-long access to the course content videos.

“Most people are really interested in the safety component of our training but also each farm benefits because the training has been shown to reduce machinery downtime – even with the most experienced operators,” Troy said. 

“These are complex and potentially dangerous machines and the one-day face to face learning plays an important part in improving safety outcomes. Of course, pickers are only one of the machines farmers use. We are developing courses for tractors, wheel loaders, ATV’s and other machinery and technology will help us deliver that. The videos are proving very popular and even iPhones can help provide training and result in safer workplaces everywhere.”

The training is in alignment with Cotton Australia’s Strategic Plan which focusses on leadership in developing and delivering workplace education and training and promoting strong industry participation and engagement in Cotton Australia led initiatives.

Under the funding package, Real Skills Ag Training will deliver 10 workshops across QLD cotton producing regions commencing on February 12, 2024, continuing until March 13. In order of delivery, the regions are:

Emerald – February 12 

Dawson Valley – February 14

St George – February 16

Lower Balonne – February 19

Darling Downs North - February 26

Cecil Plains - February 27

Darling Downs South – February 28

Goondiwindi – March 1

Talwood – March 12

Bungunya - March 13


Contact Troy:


Call or text 0428537200


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