The stereotype of an old farmer wearing a flannel shirt at the farm gate is holding back careers in agriculture, according to Buninyong MP Michaela Settle who is heading a government review in to the future of agriculture training in Victoria.
In reality the agriculture sector is a diverse, rapidly changing and often high-tech industry that is worth around $15.9 billion to the Victorian economy from primary production alone.
Ms Settle is consulting with TAFEs, training organisations, students, farmers, industry groups and others involved in the agriculture on what training is required to keep the industry moving forward as part of the Future of Agriculture Training in Victoria Review.
Agriculture is an incredibly fast moving industry, particularly with new technology, and we need to make sure we are TAFE and training is keeping up with those changes.
She said a key as building strong ties between TAFEs and other education providers and industry to expose students looking to start a career in agriculture to the latest developments in the growing sector.
And she would like to see a bigger take-up of free TAFE courses in agriculture.
"Agriculture is an incredibly fast moving industry, particularly with new technology, and we need to make sure we are TAFE and training is keeping up with those changes," she said.
"People tend to view agriculture, or a career in agriculture, as going to work as a laborer on a farm but it's incredibly diverse ... so we need to look at the flexibility of TAFE and training organisations to meet those needs," she said.
Ms Settle said with the corporatisation of agriculture and the increasing size of farms, a focus was also needed on management skills in agriculture training.
The agriculture sector directly employs about 145,000 people, in regional Victoria as well as supporting many more jobs across the supply chain including in logistics, transport and advisory services.
"One of the things I'm really interested in is showing a clear pathway for students - when you are in year 10 there's a pathway to do this course and work in this job."
Ms Settle called for industry, employers, students, parents, teachers, industry stakeholders, and TAFEs, Learn Locals and other registered training organisations to have their say at /engage.vic.gov.au/future-agriculture-training-review before October 31.
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