Canegrowers Mackay is looking to train twice as many haulout drivers in a bid to curb labour shortages during this year's harvest.
Yukan sugarcane grower Ron Gurnett and haulout trainer said the industry had difficulty attracting operators due to the seasonality of the work.
"In our region we've found it quite difficult to attract workers due to the seasonal nature of sugarcane harvesting," he said.
"We compete with the mining industry, which can be difficult in terms of money and permanent employment.
"Harvesting is perfect for those in position who only want to say work for a solid six months of the year or have other commitments."
Held on-farm, training is delivered by experienced growers, haulout operators and a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) trainer-assessor.
Some participants had never driven a tractor before while other were truck drivers looking to diversify.
Mr Gurnett said the course provides an introduction into the industry and harvesting operations.
"Sometimes we're biting our nails and other times we are breathing a sigh of relief," he said.
"We have a really mixed group of people coming through.
"My main advice is don't be scared - we won't bite you. We have years of experience and are willing to teach you."
Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg said each year the course was attracting new workers to the sugar industry, and ensured they had the skills to work safely and efficiently on farms.
"We thank the Queensland government for approving funding for the first course and we are very happy that QAWN was able to obtain funding for a second course this year," he said.
"There will be plenty of work for skilled haulout drivers when the crush begins in winter."
The training takes place over four days with 10 participants in each course.
Upon satisfactory completion of the units, participants receive a certificate II in rural operations.
The first course will take place from May 9 to 12 and a second on May 16 to 19.
Applications close April 14.
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