The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is calling on the state government to effectively address the ongoing issue of ensuring a skilled and adaptable agricultural workforce to meet the sector’s future needs in next Tuesday’s budget.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said the Rural Jobs & Skills Alliance (RJSA), fulfilled a government request to develop a proposal 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 was not forthcoming.
“The proposal will improve the way schools and agricultural industries interact, provide mutually beneficial experiences and learning, and open the job pathways the sector needs to feed, clothe and grow amenity into the future,” Mr Armitage said.
“However, despite the Queensland Government’s decision to close the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges in Emerald and Longreach and cease all operations at the end of the year, there has been no funding commitment to continue attracting the best and brightest minds to the sector.”
“Any funding saved by the closure of the colleges must be invested in such a way that it helps the sector better meet its workforce needs.”
“The current approach to this ongoing challenge is fragmented and there are numerous gaps in the schools to industry engagement. Industry engagement with the education and training sectors needs to be of the highest standard and industry led and driven.”
“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.”
The RJSA is a collaborative initiative across agriculture industry representative organisations to provide a united voice for agriculture to assist Queensland industries in attracting, training and retaining appropriately skilled agricultural workers – both now and in the future.