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Calls for ‘Skills for all Australians’ to include ag focus
19 March 2012
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of an additional $7.2 billion in funding for vocational education and training (VET) over the next five years.
NFF President Jock Laurie said the funding announcement comes at a time when the agricultural sector is facing a serious skills and labour shortage.
“Today’s funding announcement is designed to upskill Australian’s through education and training programs to ensure that future labour needs are met – and the agriculture sector is a prime candidate for what the Prime Minister today referred to as jobs for the future,” Mr Laurie said.
“The agriculture sector is, and will remain, one of the most important industries in Australia, and the future opportunities are enormous, with the need to feed, clothe and house a booming world population.
“The rise of the Asian century means that Australian farmers and the agricultural sector have a unique opportunity for growth by suppling vital food and fibre to our northern neighbours – but to grow, we need more people and a greater focus on the benefits of a career in agriculture.
“We were disappointed today that the Prime Minister did not mention the huge range of jobs available in agriculture and its related industries in her funding announcement. This is despite the fact that the wider agriculture sector already employs some 1.6 million Australians, with many more needed to fill the industry’s current labour shortage.
“The career opportunities in agriculture are interesting, challenging and extremely varied – everything from on-farm roles for farmers, agronomists and contractors to city-based jobs for scientists, journalists and policy-makers.
“And if you look further down the line to the users of farm products, then chefs, fashion designers and winemakers are among the diverse range of career opportunities available in the agricultural supply chain.
“Today, we welcome the Government’s announcement to build skills and training by boosting the VET sector, but we also call on the Government to show a real commitment to the future of our farm sector through their ‘Skills for all Australians’ VET reform,” Mr Laurie said.
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