THE hit television series ‘Succession’ has become a global sensation in recent years; however, the themes raised by the show remain a taboo discussion for many real-life farming families across the world.
The University of New England is hoping to make these conversations a little easier, thanks to the creation of two new online postgraduate courses tackling succession and family business planning in a tertiary setting.
The Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Transition and Succession Planning have been designed for professionals working across a range of industries, such as family counsellors, farm business consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and extension and advisory staff within the agricultural sector who regularly deal with family businesses.
As Australia’s population ages, course coordinator Dr Andrew Lawson, said the need for qualified professionals to help with decisions around passing down family businesses has never been stronger.
“People within the sector with whom we work closely believe a qualification such as the one we’ve developed will help enhance the professional standing of the field.”
The two courses were developed in response to a growing body of research conducted by the UNE Business School and the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Lawlooking into gender and farm succession, and the discrimination that daughters often face when it comes time to handing down the family property.
UNE Business School’s Dr Lucie Newsome says these courses will help to provide more education around the social and economic consequences for rural and regional communities when succession planning is not done correctly.
“Despite the wider social norms of women’s increasing participation in paid work and formal leadership roles, a key barrier to daughters being nominated as the successor in intergenerational transfers of family farms continues to be the social construct of both the farmer and the entrepreneur as masculine,” Dr Newsome says.
“Patterns of property transfer can influence the sustainability and flexibility of family farming, as well as the industry’s ability to respond to our changing environment. Gender norms not only constrain women, but also men.”
The two courses will cover areas such as dispute resolution and communication, as well as an overview on transition and succession planning from a legal perspective.
The courses are offered online and are open to anyone who has completed a Bachelor qualification in a relevant discipline. Enrolments for Trimester 3 are open until October 23.