Project to grow agricultural workforce

The Queensland agriculture sector has joined together to support an initiative encouraging primary school students to visit farms and other primary education sites to grow their knowledge by learning about agriculture production, sustainable practices and land stewardship.

The Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA) led by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, will partner with AgForce Queensland to deliver a project funded by the federal government’s Kids to Farm grants program, aimed at cultivating connections between farms, schools and communities.

Chair of the RJSA Ian Atkinson said a lack of understanding of what modern agriculture involves could threaten the ability to attract young people to work in the sector.

“The initiative aims to increase student’s understanding of where and how their food and fibre is produced, and the important role agriculture plays in Australia’s way of life, regional communities and economy,” Mr Atkinson said.

“The Central Queensland University will develop curriculum-based modules to create engagement and learning activities that support the Australian Curriculum connection to food and fibre. While the RJSA will provide advice, links to producers and knowledge of the sector.”

Mr Atkinson said the project was a positive step in agriculture’s ongoing challenge of ensuring it attracted and retained the appropriately resourced workforce it needs, now and in the future.

“Building on this, the RJSA’s Queensland Agriculture to Schools Engagement Program (QASEP) suggests a wholistic solution that addresses both the perceived and real gaps in schools-industry engagement and the need for continuous learning in the workforce,” Mr Atkinson said.

“We encourage the Queensland Government to work with industry to progress the implementation of QASEP, which would 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.”

Source: QFF