Get Ready to Grow with Bendigo TAFE

The career opportunities for individuals within the Animals, Plants and Sciences sectors are set to grow as agribusinesses within Victoria prepare to respond and meet the demands for food and fibre production in both local and international markets.

In Victoria alone, the sector employs over 190,000 people and industry requires workers ranging from unskilled labour through to highly-qualified and experienced academic researchers.

With continued population growth in Australian and overseas, that inevitably increases the need for food, feed, fibre and other agriculture products. Already the sector is seeing increased demand as recent Free Trade Agreements across Asia come into operation. Victoria is also recognised for producing safe clean crops and products, integrating the importance of animal welfare and implementing on-farm and regional biosecurity measures.

The introduction of the Victorian Government’s Free TAFE* incentive enables students to develop the skills they require for these in-demand jobs. Free TAFE allows people to consider courses that are linked to jobs in sectors where employment demand is increasing. From 1 January 2019, the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative will cover the cost of tuition fees for priority courses for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training.

So as an individual or business owner, where should you start your training journey?

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Choose a training provider that has experience and the links with industry – Bendigo TAFE and its new Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence and engaged Industry Advisory Board. With over 155 years of experience in the region, as well as programs that extend beyond the local area, they can support you in both working out what you need to do, and how to do it.

Bendigo TAFE’s Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence delivers courses through a variety of industry programs and simulated experiences in the state of the art, purpose- built facilities to prepare students with real-world job skills. From learning necessary farming skills in agriculture to laboratory analytical testing and science, Bendigo TAFE’s Food and Fibre Centre at its Charleston Road campus offers a range of nationally accredited courses in agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management, laboratory and animal studies.

Bendigo TAFE’s programs, including short courses focusing on specific skill sets and full qualifications are designed to meet the needs of industry focusing on a wide range of skills and knowledge on the topics needed to build a viable, sustainable and environmentally responsible agriculture sector. This includes skills and knowledge around:

  • Planning and organising
  • Safety and environmental compliance
  • Organisational development
  • Machinery operation

The skills and knowledge developed by undertaking our programs can be used in a wide variety of industry settings, such as:

  •  Cropping
  • Livestock production
  • Agribusiness
  • Chemical use
  • Irrigation
  • Machinery operation and maintenance
  • Merchandising and sales
  • Pest management
  • Soils
  • Wool

Recent studies have shown that 69.5% of graduates of the agriculture, environmental and related studies field of education (at certificate IV qualification levels) reported an improved employment status such as finding new employment, transferring to a new job, a promotion, pay increase or setup of their own business or expanding an existing business.

A high number of graduates also reported being satisfied with their training with the national average sitting at 92.8%, with many finding career pathways.

Bendigo TAFE is committed to working with the agriculture sector to develop workforce strategies and training to support small, medium and large business’s workforce development.

“Through our Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence our expertise and our flexibility set us apart from other training providers,” said Trevor Schwenke, CEO, Bendigo TAFE. “We can arrange training and assessment that is tailored specifically to meet industry needs. We already work with several industry sectors through our Industry Advisory Board, designing and delivering training that suits what they need.”

There is an opportunity for agribusiness operators to work directly with training providers to ensure training delivery matches their needs. A typical qualification being adapted to market demands is the Certificate III in Agriculture (AHC30116). It is a relevant and recognised qualification that allows individuals to develop post-trade skills and knowledge to become specialists within the agriculture industry. It is designed to meet the needs of supervisors or team leaders in the agriculture industry.

Importantly, one-way industry can meet demand is by investing in the development of skills in its current workforce. The opportunity to upskill and reskill staff is often overlooked but has the potential to provide great returns for any business that decides to invest. There will also be new careers created as the sector continues to see mechanisation, automation and a broader range of individual skills required to cover work from the paddock to the office. Preparing for this scenario means workforce planning and development is an important factor in any agribusiness plan.

The food and fibre sector is poised for growth and Bendigo TAFE through its Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence can provide both accredited and non-accredited training; short courses through to a full qualification, with a structure that suits both individuals and organisations. Get ready to grow, contact Bendigo TAFE today.

*Free TAFE on selected courses only. Eligibility criteria apply. Other fees and charges may apply. Find out more at freetafe.vic.gov.au

Article kindly provided by Bendigo TAFE.

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