The National Soil Skills Competition (NSSC) is an exciting initiative designed to connect and empower local communities around soils.
The competition must be run by a Regional Host Organisation (RHO), such as a local Landcare group, Catchment Management Authority or Government agency. The RHO ensures success of the regional soils skills competition by promoting the competition; securing sponsorship; organising the soils skills workshops and running the competition day. Full details on hosting a Regional Soil Skills Competition can be found in the Competition Pack.
To be a RHO and run an event, an organisation must have a legal structure that enables them to:
- Administer project & sponsorship funds;
- Ensure Workplace Health & Safety conditions are met at all events;
- Provide all the insurance necessary to cover all participants at all times.
Unincorporated associations are not eligible, but incorporated association with an ABN are.
What is the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA for participants, trainers and judges?
PARTICIPANTS must either be landholders, primary producers, high school students (16+ years old) or Landcare members. Some professions are excluded from participation, for more details on participant eligibility see Section 3: Guidelines for Participants, in the Competition Pack.
TRAINERS running the soils skills workshops must be competent in applied soil management, including field and lab assessment of soils. Trainers must be able to deliver training in the skills that will be assessed in the competition. Guidance and materials for trainers is provided in Section 5: Guidelines for Soil Trainers in the Competition Pack.
JUDGES of the soils skills competition must NOT have been involved in delivering the soils skills training workshops. As with the trainers, judges must be competent in soils assessment and management. A judging framework and criteria sheet is provided to assist judges in adjudicating the competition – Section 6: Guidelines for Soil Judges in the Competition Pack.
The key resources a RHO will need to run the competition are:
- Financial resources to cover running costs, either from your own funds, grants &/or sponsorship;
- The human and technical resources necessary to promote and organise a soils skills competition;
- Access to venues where the soils skills workshops and competition can be held;
- The support of a soils skills trainer & a soils skills judge;
- The time to respond to enquiries and coordinate participants’ involvement.
Is the competition offered to participants for free or for a fee?
If your organisation doesn’t have sufficient funds to run the Competition for free, you can seek out regional sponsorship opportunities to help cover costs and/or charge participants a small fee (i.e., $10-$50 per participant).
Below we’ve listed the 12 KEY STEPS involved in running the Competition. Reading over these will give you an idea of what’s involved.
12 KEY STEPS in running a Regional Soils Skills Competition
1.) CHECK ELIGIBILITY
To be a RHO, your organisation has to meet certain criteria. So the 1st key step is to check that your organisation is eligible to run the Competition.
2.) REGISTER & LODGE SIGNED AGREEMENT
Once you’ve confirmed your organisation is eligible to host the Competition, the 2nd Key Step is to REGISTER as a RHO at soilsklls.org.au and then email (or post) in a signed AGREEMENT (with Terms & Conditions).
3.) ORGANISE RESOURCES
To successfully deliver the soils skills competition in your area you will need the support of human resources and access to financial and other resources too (e.g., venues, soils trainers etc). To check it’s feasible for your organisation to run the competition, review the COMPETITION CHECKLIST & COMPETITION BUDGET (see Appendix).
4.) SET TIMELINE
Time needs to be set aside for promoting the event initially and firm dates need to be set for the two, day long, soils skills workshops, as well as the regional Competition day itself. So it’s crucial to have a set Timeline to work to.
5.) RECRUIT SOILS SPECIALISTS
At least two separate soils specialists must be involved in the Competition, one to run the soils skills training days & the other to judge participants on competition day. You may like to involve more than one trainer & judge if you expect a lot of participants.
6.) ORGANISE VENUES
Both the soils skills training workshops & the competition day will require a venue that protects participants from the elements, be sure to secure a venue early & confirm the booking before each event.
7.) ATTRACT SPONSORSHIP
Seek out financial &/or in-kind sponsorship to help meet the costs of running the competition, which may include: fees for soils trainers & judges, advertising costs, prizes & venue hire etc.
8.) ADVERTISE & PROMOTE
Promote the Competition in as many ways as possible, including using traditional and social media, as well as your own networks.
9.) RESPOND & COORDINATE RESPOND
To enquiries from interested community members & COORDINATE the registration & involvement of participants through the entire process.
10.) ORGANISE SOILS SKILLS WORKSHOPS
Organise & deliver two, one-day, soils skills workshops.
11.) RUN THE COMPETITION DAY
Organise & run the Competition day.
12.) PROMOTE & CELEBRATE
Promote the Competition day and celebrate its success in your regional media and through your personal networks.