The Andrews Labor Government is making sure our TAFE and training system helps to create the agriculture jobs of the future.
Visiting one of Victoria’s largest farms, VicSuper’s ‘Future Farming Landscapes’ redevelopment project at Lake Boga yesterday, Minister for Skills and Training, Steve Herbert discussed education and skills opportunities in the food and fibre sector.
The recent funding cuts to regional TAFE campuses, the closure of dedicated agricultural education facilities and a 30 per cent reduction in government training subsidies to courses covering production horticulture, food processing and rural operations, has hurt regional and rural students who wanted to develop skills to get jobs in agriculture.
Mr Herbert said VicSuper's impressive farm at Lake Boga used the latest technology and techniques to grow quality food produce, including organic fruit, and was leading the way in new farming processes.
The Labor Government’s Back to Work plan has identified Victoria’s food and fibre sector as a key driver of new job opportunities, and the TAFE and training system needs to play a critical role in supporting the sector to achieve its potential.
Mr Herbert said agricultural training has become increasingly high-tech, with modern farms requiring specialist skills to maximise yields and compete in global markets. This has created strong demand for training in specialist skills, such as engineering, to support the modern machinery and equipment being used on farms.
Mr Herbert said public TAFE institutes have a key role to play in developing the agricultural workforce of the future, with the $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund restoring the financial stability of regional TAFE campuses and supporting them to deliver more training that better meets the needs of their communities.
SuniTAFE’s Swan Hill Campus is already delivering a range of training to support the local food and fibre sector and the institute has expanded its engineering training facilities to better support the increase in high-tech machinery being used on the region’s farms.
The Labor Government will also appoint a new Skills Commissioner to better align the TAFE and training system with the food and fibre sector’s training needs, supporting regional industries and communities to grow.
Quotes for attribution to Minister for Training and Skills, Steve Herbert
“As Minister, I have made it a priority to consult industry leaders from across regional Victoria and the need to deliver training that supports growth in the food and fibre sector has been repeatedly raised with me.”
“Our $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund is already helping regional TAFE campuses get back on their feet after the funding cuts, while our $7.8 million new Centre of Excellence for Agriculture and Fibre at the Bendigo Kangan Institute will give kids the opportunity to develop the skills they need for a career on the land.”
“Victoria’s food and fibre industry already contributes $11 billion to our economy and way of life, and there is a tremendous opportunity to grow this sector in coming years.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021