AG Institute Australia (AIA), the peak industry body for agricultural and natural resource management professionals, says a national accreditation scheme is needed for professionals working in the agricultural sector.
Similar to the way in which accountants can become accredited Chartered Accountants to designate a high level of professionalism and ongoing training, the AIA is developing a voluntary national accreditation scheme which will enable ag professionals to become accredited “Chartered Agricultural Professionals”.
Accreditation under the voluntary scheme would enable Chartered Agricultural Professionals (CAPs) to demonstrate professionalism, commitment, education, expertise and experience.
“The accreditation scheme is aimed at protecting the reputation and service delivery capability of those working in the agricultural, agribusiness and natural resource management sectors,” AIA chair Andrew Bishop said.
“The scheme would underpin the confidence of the public and the profession that the advice and services provided by CAPs will promote best practice standards.”
Mr Bishop believes an accreditation scheme has become a higher priority in recent years as private sector consultants increasingly take on roles once occupied by government employed specialists.
“Over the last two decades or so, government agencies have reduced their staff numbers and now employ more private sector consultants to deliver programs for agriculture,” he said.
“Accreditation offers an opportunity for consultants to have their skillset independently quantified, and helps ensure contractors receive quality advice from consultants.”
The national accreditation scheme will focus on three areas of professional development: technical skills, professional and ethical standards, and continuing professional development.
The scheme will consist of an initial application process, renewal based on evidence of on-going professional development, and an auditing process.
“Many countries around the world have accreditation schemes for professionals in agriculture – in the United States, some 13,000 professionals are either Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) or Certified Professional Agronomists (CPAg), while in Canada, over 10,000 professionals are registered as professional Agrologists,” Mr Bishop said.
“We believe it is time Australia installed a national accreditation scheme for Chartered Agricultural Professionals, which will complement some industry specific schemes already in place.”
Ag Institute Australia (AIA) has released the Professional Accreditation – A Chartered Agricultural Professional Scheme Policy Paper, designed to inform and guide discussion on the development of a national accreditation scheme.