The Australian Society of Soil Science Incorporated, known as Soil Science Australia (SSA) is a not-for-profit, professional association for soil scientists and people interested in the responsible management of Australia’s soil resources. SSA supports soil scientists and promotes the importance of soil as a finite resource. Some members are students, some are at the start of their careers, while others are highly regarded experts in Australia and internationally. SSA is comprised of seven branches servicing members across the states and territories and provides development opportunities for members through conferences, field days, seminars and training events. See the SSA website for more information (https://www.soilscienceaustralia.org.au/).
This position expects applicants to have an understanding of, and commitment to, the not-for-profit sector. SSA expects all appointments to contribute to a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and the development of skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds. It also expects appointments to remain competent and current through self-directed professional reading, developing professional contacts with colleagues, attending professional development courses and attending training and/or courses as required.
Soil Science Australia has been contracted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to support Goal 3 of the National Soil Strategy: ‘Strengthen Soil Knowledge and Capability’ by
- Establishing an accreditation program which recognises the expertise of soil practitioners in the agricultural, agronomic and natural resource management fields.
- Develop a training pathway to allow those working in the field, or junior soils scientists to upskill and qualify for accreditation.
SSA requires a Training Manager to address the second project i.e. developing a training pathway to allow those working in the field, or junior soils scientists to upskill and qualify for accreditation. The course will engage with the work of the Co-operative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC) aimed at improving the knowledge base of advisors and focus on the practical application of skills and knowledge to ensure accredited experts can provide practical and scientifically valid advice to farmers and other land managers.
The primary purpose of the SSA Training Manager is to develop and implement the Recognised Soil Practitioner Training criteria and process. This will be a new accreditation scheme aimed at specific areas of soil science. The proposed training aims to
- Be nationally recognised
- Meet quality assurance requirements, where available
- Meet established industry, enterprise, educational, legislative or community need
- Provides appropriate competency outcomes and
- Provide a satisfactory basis for assessment.
Registered Soil Practitioner (RSP) training will increase soil science knowledge that can be rapidly and readily applied on-ground in practical areas relevant to those practitioners. RSP accreditation will require ongoing professional development of those practitioners to maintain accreditation to ensure that the most relevant and up-to-date soil science knowledge is communicated so that it can be applied on the ground and so that advice evolves when it is informed by the best available science.
As Training Manager, you will be expected to work independently and also work closely with the Accreditation Manager and various stakeholders from soil science and related fields in developing the training process. This position requires high standards of analysis and initiative to develop and deliver relevant criteria, content and assessment mechanisms for training. The successful candidate may have the opportunity to contribute to relevant SSA policy development.
The successful candidate will be experienced in similar training roles with excellent project management and communication skills and a positive attitude towards team environments.
Travel expenses will be covered by Soil Science Australia as per its Travel Policy.
- Maintain communication with the Training Chair at least monthly (via e.g. Zoom)
- Maintain regular communication with the Executive Officer and Accreditation Manager at least every two weeks (e.g. via Zoom)
- Respond to RSP enquiries on training from current and potential SSA members
- Work collaboratively as part of a team comprising the Executive Officer, Accreditation Manager, CPSS Officer, Training and Accreditation Administration Officer and Membership and Administration Officer.
- Engage with internal and external stakeholders (e.g. SSA branches (7), DAWE, state government departments, Soil CRC, Soils For Life, Fertilisers Australia) and build relationships with people across relevant business areas and external organisations.
- Participate in stakeholder engagement meetings.
Roles and responsibilities
The Training Manager will:
- Scope, plan, design and manage Soil Science Australia’s ‘Registered Soil Practitioner’ training program and strategies;
- Prepare briefings, reports as per Grant requirements and presentations through agreed governance processes;
- Engage constructively with key stakeholders through the facilitation of workshops and consultation meetings to promote and implement the training components of the RSP scheme. This will be done collaboratively with the SSA Accreditation Manager by identifying and developing courses (and delivery method) for current and potential members to help qualify for RSP Accreditation;
- Be responsible for the end-to-end review, approval and endorsement of vocational education and training qualifications that meet RSP Accreditation requirements;
- Be responsible for delivery of training materials in different formats e.g. online, workshop, downloadable modules, recorded tutorials, recorded in-field demonstrations, interactive discussion forums, interactive knowledge checks, training apps for iOS and Android systems for field referencing;
- Develop and implement strategies and resources to promote the benefits of RSP training within academia, industry and government;
- Develop and provide comprehensive and accurate reports on the outcomes of all stages of the training process (including the comprehensive planning schedule and RAP); perform compliance inspections based on established guidelines for RSP training;
- Prepare a brief monthly report on activities for the Executive Officer and prepare and distribute agenda and reports for the Training Board;
- Be responsible for the maintenance of training program files to ensure records are accurate and comprehensive;
- Any other relevant duties, as directed, within the scope and classification of the position.
Skills and experience
- Completed tertiary qualifications in science. A degree with a substantial natural resource management, environmental science or agricultural science component is beneficial, but not essential. In exceptional circumstances, appropriate work experience may be submitted in lieu of a suitable tertiary qualification. Substantial training development and implementation experience (at least 3-5 years) would be expected. This could include a current Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or other relevant qualification in training and assessment.
- Strong education and training background (preferably in the Vocational Education and Training sector), demonstrated ability to negotiate consensus among stakeholders, have excellent project management skills and be a critical thinker. Strong analytical and project management skills and the ability to show initiative and work unsupervised is essential.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills and an ability to build trusting relationships with stakeholders and team members alike. Well-developed written communication skills with a demonstrated ability to prepare written material such as training reports, management briefings and correspondence with key regulatory authorities.
- Proven ability to facilitate and deliver presentations e.g. chairing meetings and conducting workshops. Familiarity with governance and procedures for meetings and knowledge of committee processes.
- Proficient in MS Office Suite including SharePoint, Excel, Word etc. and have the capability to report, survey and assess the performance of training programs. A minimum of 3 years experience in project management and project management software.
- The ability to reason analytically and the ability to successfully manage multiple projects are required.
- Excellent verbal communication skills. Strong interpersonal and influencing skills with respect to providing advice to and working collaboratively with all levels of staff in a complex organisation.
- Extensive experience in a Registered Training Organisation is an advantage, in particular managing compliance within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education (TEQSA) regulatory framework, including requirements established through the National Vocational Education and Training Standards (NVETR) Act 2015 for Registered Training Organisations and private providers.
- Previous experience in science education will be an advantage.
- A strong record of being a team player with a demonstrated ability to assist and promote teamwork and service delivery. This also includes a proven ability to demonstrate a strong commitment to team objectives and a team-orientated working environment.
- Local and interstate travel will be required and a valid driver’s license is essential.
A position description is attached.