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In 2021, the OCA Board of Directors organised a national summit for the industry to address some of the issues that prevent growth and development of the sector. This was attended by over 100 industry professionals from Western Australia to Queensland and down to Tasmania. The summit went over 2 days and was facilitated by an independent facilitator that derived 3 areas of concern and attention to combat issues in the sector.

As a result 3 working groups were formed and attendees from the summit were asked to volunteer their time for further discussion and providing the OCA with potential solutions for the issues at hand. These 3 working groups were; Attraction and retention of outdoor workers, Outdoor qualifications and training pathways & Industry accreditation and frameworks.

Below is an update of each of these working groups for the industry and sector's information;

Attraction and retention of outdoor workers

“COVID-19 has brought some challenges in relation to workforce conditions however the work done in this working group will always be relevant for employers when looking at options and best practise when employing staff”

The committee have compiled the "OCA Guidance Note – Employment Practice for Outdoor Organisations", which is found on the OCA website under tools and resources. This is a compilation directly based on the work done by the working group.

This guidance note sits alongside the Severe Weather Guidance Note as tools for the industry to use when applying best practise to their adventurous activities and programs. These must be used in conjunction with the Australian Adventure Activity Standards and Good Practise Guides.

There is more work to be done on the attraction of our industry to potential workers in 2022 and beyond and work continues by the working group in this area.

Outdoor qualifications and training pathways

“Navigating pathways in our industry has traditionally not been easy and many of us have fallen into opportunities over the years. It would be great to provide more information for potential career seekers that is equivalent to other industries, if not better.”

Work continues with this working group as the navigation of qualifications and options for entry, development and requirements in the industry are diverse. Understanding the options and then adapting to particular areas of the industry is a key focus of this working group. More information will be coming from this group in 2022.

Industry accreditation and frameworks

“There is no greater time for our industry to review accreditation as our needs are now and urgent as we navigate a challenging insurance environment.”

It is true that accreditation can often be a solution to many problems that exist with stakeholders in the industry, including but not limited to, insurance providers, land owners, policy makers. This working group spent a great deal of time reviewing existing programs from industry specific to tourism programs that all have adventurous activities within their operations. There has been a ground-breaking admission in that all lack some element of need from industry stakeholders. The mapping of these needs was then provided to the OCA Board for review as a guide to what accreditation programs for adventurous activities should contain. Once reviewed, OCA will be discussing the next steps to progress a better framework for adventurous activities.

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