Tell us a bit about yourself.
Originally, I am from a full-time farming and grazing background with 26 years of experience working on and managing mixed farming and irrigation properties in northern New South Wales. I’ve also worked in real estate and logistics.
From 2012, I worked as an instructor with the Queensland Agricultural Training College in Toowoomba, delivering qualifications in the Agribusiness, Agriculture and Conservation, and Land Management until the colleges’ closure in 2019.
What do you like about working in agriculture?
I enjoy working in agriculture as it gives me the ability to interact and share my knowledge and passion for the rural industries with whoever will listen – whether that be people with similar life experience, or simply an interest in agriculture and rural industries. Educating industry and being able to give back this knowledge and experience is important to me, as I believe that education, good self-esteem, and maintaining a positive outlook are the keys to success.
This experience and passion for connecting skills with the rural industries enables me to provide strategic advice to the Department of Youth Justice, Education, Small Business & Training in my current role as the Industry Skills Advisor (ISA) for Agribusiness.
Tell us about your role with QFF
I joined QFF as the Industry Skills Advisor (ISA) for agriculture in 2020. As the ISA, I play a key role in enhancing the educational outcomes and employment opportunities for people seeking work or a career in the agriculture sector.
The ISA role primarily aims to raise industry awareness and participation in Vocational Education & Training (VET). Through the role I also provide advice to government on current and future skills requirements.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities facing the agriculture sector?
Agribusinesses are experiencing both significant challenges and overwhelming opportunities, that will continue to impact their business practices and processes, particularly around innovation, technology, and data. It’s important that we find ways to support agribusinesses to build capability and adaptability in uncertain and volatile conditions to assist with succession planning, business transitions, reputation, and workforce management.
The sector often struggles to attract skilled workers due to the misunderstandings around current farming practices and what that looks like. People are often not aware of the scale and scope of agricultural opportunities and operations, and the reality is that approximately 70 percent of careers in agriculture are off-farm and fill essential roles in the supply chain and productivity gains.
As a critical pillar of the economy, the agriculture sector must have a skilled workforce that can operate high-tech equipment, solve problems, manage financial budgets and staff, be leaders and managers, comply with environmental and legal requirements and be individuals who are open to change and undertaking frequent sharp bursts of upskilling to cope with the rapid changes in their workplaces. It’s certainly an exciting sector to work in and I see telling the story of what it means to work in this sector as a big opportunity, and challenge as we look forward to the future.
How can people work with you?
If you have an interest in the current or emerging skills and workforce requirements in Queensland agribusiness and rural industries, I can work with you to present these insights to government to assist in developing regional skilling and training opportunities.
I also utilise the Rural Jobs & Skills Alliance (RJSA) as the central industry reference group for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and fisheries stakeholder engagement. The RJSA represents a range of industries within the agriculture sectors, which enables me as the ISA to tap into members for industry specific insights related to your regional skilling requirements.
If you are an employer, small business or industry stakeholder and would like to get in touch to discuss agriculture job growth, employment opportunities and regional skills and training solutions you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about my work at the ISA project page here.