WINSC AGM and Workshop Hervey Bay – Article for FISH – Jan 2010
Utilising funds from Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry “Recognising Women Farmers” grants, WINSC held their AGM and a strategic workshop in beautiful Hervey Bay on the 29-30th October 2009.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Identify the priority issues for women in the seafood industry.
- Identify agreed training needs for women in the seafood industry.
- Develop strategies for identifying current and potential members, especially young women, to access leadership and development opportunities.
- Input into the WINSC strategic plan and future planning for priority WINSC activity.
Noting that membership of the WINSC is not exclusively for women, the workshop was well attended, not only by 32 seafood industry women, but three (very brave) men also participated. A pre-workshop survey was sent to participants two weeks before the workshop to help focus the sessions and identify priority issues before the event. The program was then adapted to ensure appropriate stakeholders/representatives from the pre identified priority areas attended the workshop, to present or provide input to the day’s activities. This, in combination with the AGM the day before and the offered financial assistance, ensured that a large number of invitees attended, and that the agenda and themes were truly reflective of the diverse array of participants.
Given the time frame, a remarkable amount of ground was covered in the workshop. Care was taken to ensure that individual development opportunities were available for a number of WINSC members by allowing them to facilitate or present at sessions. All participants contributed to the development of the action plan and their genuine interest and enthusiasm resulted in highly successful workshop outcomes.
Outcomes and outputs from the workshop included:
- A list of individual participants’ priority issues for seafood industry women.
- A list of individual participants’ R,D&E priority activities that would improve the ‘value’ of the industry for seafood industry women.
- A list of “social” priority areas for seafood industry women.
- Identification of agreed training needs and action plan for implementing the training.
- Current and potential WINSC members were indentified, particularly younger members, and provided with options for personal and professional development.
- A detailed list of training, leadership and recognition opportunities for seafood industry women.
- The 2009 Professional Development Scholarship Winner, Meagan Dodd of the Sydney Fish Market, was announced, and the 2008 winner, Anni Conn, provided an overview of her project on the international farmed prawn market.
- An action plan was developed to ensure WINSC members effectively engage with government agencies and representative bodies (at a state and federal level) to ensure priority issues are publicised and included in decision-making processes.
- A comprehensive assessment of priorities issues from the day’s sessions was collated and identified tasks, proposed outcomes, priority, actions, timelines, cost and potential funding options and responsibility (this information is to be used as the template for planning subsequent national WINSC activities, including applying for funding for specific projects).
- Participants provided input into the update of the WINSC Strategic Plan (2009-2013).
In the past it has been difficult to obtain a collective and nationally agreed list of priority issues for seafood women, but the workshop provided the opportunity to identify and formally record the issues, which can now be raised at national, state and local committees. Along with highlighting these issues to the seafood industry stakeholders at the workshop, the action plan also identified the best way to engage with regulatory and representative organisations to ensure WINSC priority issues are recognised in decision-making/consultative processes.
Particularly pertinent to supporting industry productivity and community resilience are the outcomes of the training needs analysis. The top three training needs identified were in the areas of marketing and value adding, leadership development and strategic planning. Participants were also given the opportunity to identify and access training needs to help them to respond to possible changes in their businesses/operations. By encouraging and supporting members to take advantage of training and bursary opportunities, there will be an increase in their confidence, leadership and representative capacity. Opportunities include the Rural Women’s Awards, National Seafood Industry Leadership Program, Young Rural Peoples Training Awards, Australian Rural Leadership Program, Nuffield Scholarships, EOIs for participation in committees (e.g. FRDC etc), Seafood CRC bursaries and scholarships
The action plan will be used to address WINSC priorities and directions for the next 5 years, in conjunction with the updated Strategic Plan. Implementation of these actions is expected to assist in addressing the existing low numbers of women holding positions of authority in the seafood industry.
By identifying training priorities and opportunities through the workshop there will be a greater opportunity for WINSC members to partake of these opportunities, particularly those that provide opportunities for women to network directly or indirectly through more general programs, such as the ARLP or NSILP. Women are characterised by low application rates in many programs, and having a better understanding of these opportunities will hopefully address a key shortfall in womens’ participation.
At the WINSC AGM, the new board members and President were elected. We now have a director in each state and the Northern Territory and well as two Directors ‘at large’. Our immediate past president, Mrs Anne Walley has handed over the baton to Kylie Paulsen. Kylie hails from a fishing family, and owns two prawn trawlers. As a long standing member of the WINSC and previous director, she has a valuable understanding of the organisation as well as a clear vision for the future. All directors are looking forward to supporting the WINSC achieve this vision. The executive would like to thank Anne for her outstanding contributions to the organisation since its inception. For a full list of directors, or further information on any of the above, please visit our website at www.winsc.org.au or contact the Secretary Janet Howieson at firstname.lastname@example.org.