Development and accreditation of an applied climate education unit for sustainable land use in Australia
George, DA and Birch, CJ and Clewett, JF and Allen, WR and Wright, A, Development and accreditation of an applied climate education unit for sustainable land use in Australia, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 29, (4) pp. 87-108. ISSN 1044-0046 (2007) [Refereed Article]
In recent years, there have been significant developments in climate science relevant to agriculture and natural resource management. Assessing impacts of climate variability and use of seasonal climate forecasts have become increasingly important elements in the management "toolkit" for many Australian farmers. Consideration of climate change further increases the need for improved management strategies. While climate risk extension activities have kept pace with advances in climate science, a national review of the Vocational Education and Training system in Australia in relation to "weather and climate" showed that these topics were "poorly represented" at the management level in the Australian Qualifications Framework, and needed increased emphasis. Consequently, a new Unit of Competency concerning management of climatic risk was developed and accredited to address this deficiency. The objective of the unit was to build knowledge and skills for better management of climate variability via the elements of surveying climatic and enterprise data; analysing climatic risks and opportunities; and developing climatic risk management strategies. This paper describes establishment of a new unit for vocational education that is designed to harness recent developments in applied climate science for better management of Australia's highly variable climate. The main benefits of the new unit of competency, "Developing climatic risk management strategies,"were seen as improving decisions in climate and agriculture, and reducing climate risk exposure to enhance sustainable agriculture. The educational unit is now within the scope of agricultural colleges, universities, and registered training organisations as an accredited unit.