Training and advisory support as the foundation of rural development

Training measures contribute significantly to the strengthening of rural areas. Therefore, they are an additional programme Focus.

Over the past years, the educational level in the agricultural sector has been considerably raised. A new training and research campaign in agriculture and forestry continues to pursue this development with ambitious new goals. Targeted measures intend to bring on a general professionalisation and an improvement of entrepreneurial competence in agriculture and forestry. To this end, advisory services provided to working groups are being significantly expanded. In the future, such services will play an even stronger role. Innovations in climate change and sustainable resource use are given particular consideration.

Innovative training programme

Comprehensive professional know-how is required to safeguard natural resources and biological diversity. Austria offers excellent agricultural and environmental training. It provides the basis for innovative impulses and sustainability put into practice. The new programme gives this offer additional strength. With the help of co-financing, advisory services are also being supported for the first time. The entrepreneurial skills of agricultural holdings are being further professionalised and improved.

Practice-oriented advanced and continuing education offers aim to improve technical, entrepreneurial and personal skills, thus supporting competitiveness, resource efficiency and sustainable management of agricultural and forestry operations. The training and advisory products of the nationwide campaign "Mein Betrieb – Meine Zukunft“ (my farm – my future) form the focus thereof. Offers are available for various target groups and management stages (analysis, planning, decision, controlling). They intend to contribute to ensuring operational success and improving the quality of life for farming families.

Knowledge transfer through training and information measures contributes significantly to the strengthening of rural areas. In the context of the Rural Development Programme, training and information are meant to support the implementation of priorities and goals as horizontal support measures. With this, they contribute significantly to sustainable, innovative, and productive agriculture and forestry.

Additional incentives for continuing education

The future programme brings many new features to Austrian farmers: Good basic agricultural training taking the form of extracurricular skilled-labour training and master craftsman training is extremely important. By the year 2030, 100 percent of all agricultural holding managers are to have completed basic agricultural training. Notably production managers in commercial holdings should have completed master craftsman training or a higher degree. Thus, vocational training as second-chance education will be newly added to the programme and promoted.

The push for extracurricular vocational training specifically aims to improve the professional qualification of future holding managers. This applies to qualification as a skilled worker (minimum qualification for start-up grants) and preparatory study courses for the master craftsman's diploma. The acquisition of additional technical and personal skills is meant to contribute to satisfying the growing professional and social demands and to support achievement of programme priority targets.

Europe-wide exchange programmes

To encourage knowledge transfer, farmers will also be provided support for using exchange programmes with other agricultural and forestry operations in Europe. Stays abroad will contribute to developing new strategies and perspectives for one's own holding. Such excursions and exchange programmes serve as a platform on which to present the implementation of new scientific insights in a hands-on manner while ensuring an exchange with decision makers. This measure can effectively encourage knowledge transfer between research and practice.

New impulses through an innovation campaign

The interested public will be familiarised with new products and technologies, new processes as well as research and test results. The transfer of innovations from research to agricultural holdings will be stepped up and their implementation accelerated. "Demonstration projects and information measures" play an essential role in this context. They also aim to help participants adjust to changes quickly. Additionally, they serve to strengthen cooperation between advisory services, training, research, and practice.

published at 18.04.2018, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)