17 November 2021

Agriculture courses expand as farming industry booms

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Crookwell farmer Jess Ryan with dog

Crookwell farmer Jess Ryan says her TAFE NSW agriculture qualifications have given her a flying start into the industry. Photo: TAFE NSW.

TAFE NSW has moved to expand its course options to help train the next generation of agriculture professionals, as the region’s farmers enjoy one of their best seasons on record.

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson said TAFE NSW will play a critical role in ensuring the booming agriculture industry has the workforce to meet future demand, citing the NFF’s recently released ‘2030 Roadmap’, which outlines its vision to grow the agricultural workforce by 25 per cent during the next decade.

“Vocational education is key to nurturing agriculture’s future workforce, and TAFE NSW is at the forefront of vocational education,” said Ms Simson.

“TAFE NSW offers students an invaluable combination of theory and practical experience, which means graduates are ready to hit the ground running.”

Ms Simson’s comments come on the back of a record year for farmers, and just days out from National Agriculture Day on Friday, 19 November, with this year’s event showcasing the increasingly diverse and rewarding career opportunities available in the industry.

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The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released data predicting the farming sector will reach a historically high value of $73 billion in 2021-2022.

And a recent study commissioned by Hort Innovation predicts harvest labour alone could be short a staggering 24,000 casual workers by 2022.

TAFE NSW agribusiness head of skills team Scott Glyde said as Australia’s leading provider of vocational education and training, TAFE NSW is uniquely positioned to arm locals with the hands-on, practical skills to power the agriculture industry for decades to come.

“TAFE NSW offers a wide range of courses with practical experience for working in agriculture, focusing on food and animal production, and farm management,” he said.

TAFE NSW Bega graduate Craig Pearce standing next to tractor on rural property

TAFE NSW Bega graduate Craig Pearce says the hands-on practical skills learned at TAFE NSW are making him a more rounded farm professional. Photo: TAFE NSW.

“The industry is incredibly diverse and there are so many opportunities to make a difference in a rewarding career.”

Crookwell woman Jess Ryan, 21, has farming in her DNA, having grown up on her family’s Crookwell livestock property. But in a bid to broaden her knowledge about all facets of the industry, she completed a Certificate III in Agriculture at TAFE NSW Goulburn and is only weeks away from finishing her Certificate IV in Agriculture.

Ms Ryan is also working as a farmhand at Andy Divall’s Narambulla property.

“I’ve learned so much at TAFE NSW but it has particularly helped me understand the managerial side of farming, knowing when to do something and why,” she said.

Ms Ryan hopes the practical skills and knowledge learned at TAFE NSW will help her realise her dream of running her own property in the future.

READ ALSO Fourth generation farmer turns to TAFE for latest skills

Bega’s Craig Pearce is one of thousands of TAFE NSW agriculture graduates forging a successful path in the industry.

Mr Pearce, 22, whose family dairy farm supplies milk for Bega Cheese, completed a Certificate II, III and IV in Agriculture (Dairy) through TAFE NSW, and he said the hands-on skills learned at TAFE NSW have given him a flying start into a career in dairy.

“My dad obviously knows a lot about dairy farming, but there’s a new generation coming through and new ways of doing things so it was great to learn that at TAFE NSW,” he said.

“I learned things such as the science of livestock feeding at TAFE NSW, and what proteins are in foods so the cow is getting the right nutrition. It was a really good overall experience and my teachers had great knowledge of the industry.”

To learn more about enrolling in an agriculture course at TAFE NSW, call 13 16 01, or click here.

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