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Historical document

Brokering business skills development for horticulture (HG06160)

Key research provider: RDS Partners Pty Ltd
Publication date: October, 2008

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

A pilot training program, Coordinating Business Services in Regional Australia, was developed and delivered to a group of twelve women from New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria. The program was designed by Amabel Fulton, Jeanette Long and Cathy McGowan. The program aimed to develop and test the model of demand driven industry development using the process of service brokerage. The program also developed the skills and knowledge of regional business operators, in brokering, as a model for ensuring demand driven industry development.

Outcomes included:

  • Development of brokerage skills amongst regional level service brokers
  • Development of skills of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in horticulture by coordinating services in response to demand
  • Development of a business model for coordination of brokering services.

A four day workshop was held in Sydney in March 2008. Participants also participated in regular phone links, and a follow up workshop was held in Melbourne in September 2008.

Training brokerage (identifying needs and matching training to meet these needs) was studied as a mechanism for delivery of client focused education and training in the agricultural sector in a Cooperative Venture for Capacity Building project by Sue Kilpatrick and Amabel Fulton in 2005. Following this, five pilot Training Broker projects were commissioned by the FarmBis Targeted Training Initiative in Tasmania. Each of these projects resulted in significant industry benefits and demonstrated the effectiveness of brokering as a means of ensuring demand driven industry development.

The success of the Tasmanian pilot Training Broker projects demonstrated a need in the area of training brokerage. It was seen that this concept could be applied to all types of industry development services, not just training. As such, the term Service Broker was adopted. There was an opportunity to develop the skills amongst regional level service brokers, so they could ensure demand driven industry development for the horticultural sector.

The pilot program was successful in developing the skills and knowledge of participants. However, it had become evident that there was a need for establishment of an ongoing service, servicing the needs of participants, including initial training program, annual conference, and professional development/business development training. This prepared participants (private sector consultants) for an increasing role for delivery of demand driven industry development for horticulture.

The project team also recognised that a network of regional service brokers could be developed, for coordinating broker services and creating a national capacity for demand driven industry development, in the horticultural sector. A business model had been developed for continuation of the project. This involved funding for a further three years to establish the service. After three years, consideration was given to becoming a self funded commercial business.

It was recommended to deliver the training program annually to new participants, primarily aimed at private service deliverers. The training was incorporated with an annual “Demand Driven Industry Development” conference, providing an opportunity for past participants to network with industry guests and new participants.

Following the success of the project, Hort Innovation (then HIA) were enabled to consider using the demand driven industry development model with its Industry Advisory Committees. Each Industry Advisory group had the potential to be aligned with a broker (private service deliverer).  


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of RDS Partners Pty Ltd.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2008. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).