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Female agribusiness students show the future of farming is female

Female agribusiness students show the future of farming is female

As the demand for skilled workers in Australian agriculture continues to surge, TAFE NSW is helping to equip a growing number of women with the tools and knowledge that are essential for success in this vital industry.

Women make up 32% of the Agricultural workforce in Australia, with the Federal Government’s Women’s Budget 2023/24 revealing that qualified women entering the industry are earning more than their male counterparts.

NSW Farmers CEO Annabel Johnson, who grew up on a mixed cattle and sheep farm near Young, said women were vital to the future of agriculture.

“There’s an old saying that if you want something done, get a country woman to do it, and we’re certainly seeing that with the next generation coming through now,” Ms Johnson said.

“Women have always played a crucial role in agriculture, and there are some fantastic opportunities out there in a range of disciplines.

“Farmers literally feed the world, and it’s great to see more and more young women step up and take on these roles in such an important industry.”

At TAFE NSW female students account for almost half of the agribusiness cohort, following pathways into agriculture through a range of courses. Flexible learning options, tailored support, and fee-free spaces provide women with learning pathways that suit their lifestyle and allow them to gain the qualifications and practical skills they need for the job they want.

TAFE NSW graduate and livestock agent, Alicia Connor, said she has noticed an increase in female agents in recent years.

“When I started out there were a couple of us, but now there are more women,” Ms Connor said.
“I studied a Certificate III in Property Services which helped me achieve my dream of becoming a livestock agent.

“The flexibility of online learning and the support of my teachers along the way made completing my course really easy.

“I grew up farming and I just love animals, so I look forward to coming to work each day.”

Wool Classer, Emma Pearson, is one of many female students who took advantage of fee-free study to become a qualified wool classer and join a booming industry.

“I grew up on a Merino stud in the New England region and enrolled in this course to broaden my skills and career prospects,” Ms Pearson said.

“I was particularly focused on expanding my knowledge of wool styles that I don’t work with regularly.

“The course took me to the Sydney Royal Easter Show where all of my competitors were female, which just goes show how the industry is changing.

“Since graduating, I’ve classed a number of sheds in the region and my phone keeps ringing, I almost can’t keep up!”

Maddi Austin was working at a cosmetic clinic when a yearning to enter the livestock industry prompted her to seek some hands-on training.

“We had some livestock on our property, and I just decided, you know what, I’m going to enrol at TAFE NSW and really do this properly,” Mrs Austin said.

“The course was just fantastic; it’s really hands on and inspired me to forge a career in the cattle industry working with AI and embryo transfers.”