Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh
Victoria Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall
Coalition Promoting Rewarding Careers In Agriculture
Victor P Taffa
The challenges and opportunities for young people taking up careers in the food and fibre industry will be in the spotlight tomorrow at a forum convened by the Victorian Coalition Government.
Grow Your Food and Fibre Future will be co-hosted at Parliament House by Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh and Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall.
Mr. Walsh said the forum would bring together young farmers, leading industry figures and education and finance representatives to discuss how to fulfil agriculture’s potential as a rewarding career for young people.
“A recent parliamentary inquiry into the farming sector’s capacity to attract and retain young people highlighted the opportunities for industry to encourage young people to take up careers in agriculture.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The inquiry’s findings emphasised the importance of improving education pathways, promoting the food and fibre sector by industry and improving collaboration between sectors.”
“To further this work, the Coalition Government has convened tomorrow’s forum as an opportunity for those who have a stake in the future of the food and fibre industry to come together and develop a clear set of actions for industry to implement.”
The forum will include five discussion groups covering topics highlighted by the inquiry as action areas for industry the image of agriculture, career pathways, mentoring and networks, employment practices, and new models for business and finance.
The forum will also include a young food and fibre professional’s discussion panel focusing on pathways to diverse careers across sectors.
Mr. Hall said the latest skills would give farmers new ways of improving their businesses and a competitive edge.
“The skills required to run a farming operation today are very different to those of 30 years ago.” Mr. Hall said.
“The next generation of farmers will increasingly use a mix of skills from disciplines such as agronomy, marketing, human resources and business management.”
“Victoria will require a generation of farmers with the right skills and abilities. With the right set of skills, there are great opportunities to forge a rewarding career.”
“It’s pleasing to see that enrolments in critical courses in agriculture continue to grow, with more and more young people training to be shearers, crop and livestock farmers, arborists and farm managers.” Mr. Hall said.
Between 2011 and 2012, enrolments in agriculture continued to grow, with a 63 % increase in Certificate IV courses, and an 18 % growth in Certificate III courses.
The number of students that enrolled in agriculture as part of a traineeship lifted by 28 %.
“The Gateway provides a platform that industry can use to reach more of the people who will be critical in shaping the career choices of our future farmers.” Mr. Hall said.
“The Coalition Government is also undertaking a costing study to test the feasibility of establishing specialist schools for agricultural education at years 11 and 12 and facilitating a statewide young farmer committee to support and strengthen the links between existing young farmer organisations.”
Mr. Walsh said the Coalition Government was committed to promoting agriculture as a fulfilling education pathway and career option, and was investing in initiatives to help them become established in the sector.
“Our support for young farmers includes the Young Farmer Stamp Duty Scheme, increased funding for the Young Farmer Finance Scheme, the Grow Your Food and Fibre Career campaign and reinvigorating the Victorian Young Farmers organisation.” Mr. Walsh said.