The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and its industry members have welcomed the Queensland Labor Party’s commitment to expand current, and deliver new, TAFE facilities to skill the agriculture workforce of the future if elected this month.
The announcement includes funding for a new Agriculture Centre of Excellence in Bowen, a new Agriculture and Horticulture Centre, and the expansion of the Rural Centre of Excellence in Toowoomba to deliver training to the state’s future rural industry workforce.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis acknowledged this investment as a positive step in effectively addressing the ongoing issue of ensuring a skilled and adaptable agricultural workforce to meet the sector’s future needs.
“The funding will provide more accessible opportunities to attract the best and brightest minds, provide the skills and training the state’s agriculture workforce requires, and open job pathways the sector needs to feed, clothe and grow amenity,” Dr Davis said.
“However, these facilities do not replace the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges in Emerald and Longreach which the Queensland Government closed last year.”
“The current approach to the agriculture sector’s ongoing workforce challenge is fragmented and there are numerous gaps and barriers to attracting, training and retaining appropriately skilled agricultural workers.”
“The QFF-led Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA) has developed a proposed model to improve the understanding of students, educators and career advisors about the career opportunities offered by agriculture and the future skills required, but funding to implement the initiative has not been forthcoming.”
“Industry engagement with the education and training sectors needs to be of the highest standard and industry led and driven. QFF encourages all political parties to consider this model to meet and address agriculture’s ongoing workforce challenges and grasp the new and emerging sectoral opportunities.”
“For the future productivity of the sector, we need a workforce that is well resourced, fit for purpose and responsive to the ever-changing technological advances and potential disruption ahead.”