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TAFE NSW Moss Vale 'townies' to help plug local skills gap

TAFE NSW Moss Vale

TAFE NSW Moss Vale 'townies' to help plug local skills gap

RIDING HIGH: TAFE NSW Moss Vale agriculture student Dominic Gambrill is one of a growing band of ‘townies’ entering the farming sector.

14 June 2023

The state’s peak farming body has welcomed an increase in the number of “townies” studying agriculture at TAFE NSW Moss Vale, saying it will help the industry confront its current skills gap.

As the local agriculture industry booms amid a “perfect storm” of strong commodity prices and seasonal conditions, it faces a growing labour shortage to keep pace with demand.

NSW Farmers workplace relations chair Chris Stillard said the new data showing more students from non-farming backgrounds were studying agriculture was a positive for the industry.

“Modern agriculture is a really diverse industry and we don’t just have tractor drivers and stockhands any more, we’ve got mechanics and drone pilots and network engineers as well,” Mr Stillard said.

“TAFE NSW will play an important role in helping the industry have a skilled pipeline of workers into the future.

“A growing global population means a growing need for food, and agriculture is where that food comes from, so you can be outstanding in any field while you’re out standing in a field.”

Mr Stillard’s comments echo similar sentiments earlier this year from Australia’s peak farming group, National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), which said TAFE NSW would play a critical role in ensuring the industry had the workforce to meet future demand, with the NFF Roadmap outlining its vision to grow the workforce by 25 per cent over the next decade.


TAFE NSW Team Leader of Agribusiness Jenny O’Donnell said she had noticed a marked increase in students from a non-farming background studying agriculture in recent years.


“There used to be a perception that only those from farming backgrounds entered the agriculture industry but that has well and truly changed,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“The local ag industry is booming and with that growth comes strong demand for skilled workers.

“TAFE NSW is proud to be training the agricultural leaders of tomorrow and ensuring they have the practical skills and experience to help the industry thrive.”


TAFE NSW Moss Vale Certificate III in Agriculture Dominic Gambrill, 22, was raised in suburban Burradoo but caught the agriculture “bug” while making annual visits to his grandmother’s farm in Bundaberg.


Intoxicated by working outdoors and with animals, Mr Gambrill turned to TAFE NSW Moss Vale to gain the practical skills and experience to enter the industry. He’s currently doing contract work on local properties and will head north after graduating from TAFE NSW next month to help manage his grandmother’s farm.

“I really felt a passion for working on the land but it wasn’t until I went to TAFE NSW did it all come together,” he said. “After doing the fencing unit, I can now repair fences and the unit on learning how to herd animals was also invaluable.

“Agriculture is such a rewarding career and perfect for anyone who wants to work with animals and outdoors.”


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428