Training to upskill entrepreneurs and business owners in Mackay & Whitsunday region

Agribusinesses and entrepreneurs in the Mackay and Whitsunday area will soon have the opportunity to access a training program designed to provide them with comprehensive support and practical training to succeed in the business world.

Delivered by TAFE Queensland in partnership with the TNQ Drought Hub and supported by Reef Catchments NRM, the training will combine online content with face-to-face workshops and individual mentoring sessions.

TNQ Drought Hub Program Lead Jane Oorschot said the training had been designed to meet the growing demand for upskilling small businesses and enterprise skills in the agricultural sector, with enrolments now open for the pilot intake which will commence July 24.

“The selection of Mackay as the pilot program was driven by the specific need to deliver such upskilling in regional Queensland,” said Dr Oorschot.

“This training is a great opportunity for the agricultural sector and associated industries to increase their knowledge in the building of a business or exploring opportunities for diversification.

“In the past, the training has only been offered in Brisbane which meant participants were required to travel.”

“To combat this, we have worked with our key partners to develop a hybrid program that combines online content delivery with three face-to-face workshops in Mackay, facilitated by a mentor with experience in the agricultural sector.”

Reef Catchments Program Manager Bernie Cockayne said the training offers the opportunity to enhance and boost business profitability for participants.

“From the outset, we have worked with the TNQ Drought Hub to identify a range of practical actions that will support our agricultural sector,” said Mr Cockayne.

“Through a comprehensive mentoring program, participants will benefit from personalised one-on-one sessions and engaging group workshops. This approach ensures that what participants will learn will directly apply to their unique business challenges, rather than hypothetical situations.

“As the industry faces mounting costs and evolving market demands, this program equips participants with practical strategies to ensure business in the Mackay and Whitsunday region can thrive.”

General Manager of TAFE Queensland Brisbane Region, Brent Kinnane said they were proud to be partnering with TNQ Drought Hub to deliver the training in the Mackay and Whitsunday region, with enrolments now open.

“For over 140 years, TAFE Queensland has been playing a vital role in providing the skilled workforce our state needs to drive economic growth and future prosperity,” said Mr Kinnane.

“Our key focus is improving regional prosperity and development by working with businesses, community groups and government agencies to build skilled workforces that align with our region’s present and future economic needs.

“Through our partnership with TNQ Drought Hub, we’re proud to connect regional business owners with experienced mentors from the agriculture community through our Small Business Solutions program.

“Our Small Business Solutions mentors come from the industry and are dedicated to providing business owners with the professional guidance, tools, plans, and skills to grow, thrive and contribute to our state’s economy.”

Dr Oorschot said TNQ Drought Hub will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if they will replicate the offering in other key regional areas.

“Our primary objective at TNQ Drought Hub is to foster the growth and skill development of individuals in regional and rural areas,” said Dr Oorschot.

“This particular initiative is one among several that we have undertaken to equip those in the agricultural sector with the tools and knowledge to thrive.

“We’re looking forward to seeing this come to life in July and we hope to replicate this in other key regional areas to ensure such knowledge and upskilling is available and accessible where it is needed most.”


Please refer to TAFE Queensland for expressions of interest. For more details or to register, call 1300 780 368 or email