The future of farming in the Northern Tablelands involves boosting the number of women in the industry according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and TAFE NSW is proudly skilling this new workforce.
NFF president Fiona Simson, the first female president in the organisation’s 40-year history, said their goal was to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030.
“Progress reports from our Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program show we are well on the way to achieving this goal, if not knocking it out of the park,” Ms Simson said.
“The NFF has identified increasing the representation of women as key to achieving agriculture’s goal to be a $100 billion industry by 2030. We want to see more meaningful change toward gender diversity in the agricultural sector and we know that TAFE NSW is playing an integral role in helping to attract female students and train the next generation of women in the industry.”
While the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Sciences indicate women comprise only 31 per cent of workers in agriculture, TAFE NSW already boasts a relatively high proportion of female enrolments in agribusiness courses at 47 per cent.
Warialda’s Ardina Jackson completed a Diploma of Agriculture and an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management at TAFE NSW in 2017 and 2018.
The 25-year-old began her career as an agronomist and now works as a State Sales Manager for Imtrade CropScience, a manufacturing and R&D company that develops agricultural chemical solutions specifically for Australian growers to use on crops including macadamias and avocados.
“The TAFE NSW courses I studied were hands-on and I didn’t have to do a four-year degree – I was able to get the practical skills I needed and get into the industry faster,” Ardina said.
“The TAFE NSW teachers had real industry experience to pass on as they had all worked in the agricultural sector themselves. They centred the learning around what I was passionate about and where I wanted to take my career.”
TAFE NSW Agriculture Team Leader for Western NSW, Fiona McCauley, said as NSW’s leading provider of vocational education and training, TAFE NSW was uniquely positioned to arm women with the practical skills they need to develop successful careers.
“There are many opportunities for rewarding agricultural careers, and our skills-based courses allow women to hit the ground running in local industries,” Ms McCauley said.
“Many of our agricultural sectors across NSW are experiencing major skills shortages, so there is currently an opportunity to choose from a diverse range of career pathways.”
TAFE NSW offers basic skillsets in practical skills including shearing and tractor operations through to advanced farm management qualifications such as the Diploma of Agriculture.
Vet nursing and animal care, wool classing, winemaking, horticulture and landscaping, livestock farming, food production and cropping are just some of the other careers women can choose from in a booming industry that needs to grow its workforce by 25 per cent.
Explore hundreds of courses in agribusiness at TAFE NSW. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
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