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Local TAFE NSW graduate Heather Walker from Cowra wants more women to work in Agriculture and is taking her experience from the farm to the classroom to inspire others.
Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) show women comprise only 31 per cent of workers in agriculture.
TAFE NSW provides women with pathways into a range of agribusiness careers and already boasts a relatively high proportion of female enrolments in agribusiness courses at 47 per cent.
“When I first started working at Forbes NSW Markets my dad was nervous, I was one of a handful of women there, now I’m seeing more and more women come through and as a teacher, I want to inspire more women and lead by example,” Heather said.
Heather Walker gained a Certificate III and then Certificate IV in Wool Classing at TAFE Cowra and used this to pathway into university with the aim to lead my example.
“It is a credit to my dad for guiding me to apply for TAFE NSW. With my mind set on moving into university, I have never looked back and I have been significantly encouraged to chase my dreams and inspire other women to get into the sector”.
“TAFE NSW is one whole learning curve, I have met some amazing industry leaders and some great workmates. Thanks to TAFE NSW I am now studying to become an agricultural teacher.” Heather said.
The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson, the first female president in the organisation’s 40-year history, said “Our goal was to double the number of women in the agricultural industry’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,”
“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 a 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.” Ms Simson said.
TAFE NSW Agribusiness Head Teacher Kerri Capill, said as NSW’s leading provider of vocational education and training, TAFE NSW was uniquely positioned to arm women with the hands-on, practical skills they need to develop successful careers.
“There are so many opportunities to make a difference in a rewarding agricultural career, and our skills-based courses allow women to hit the ground running in local industries and stay living and working in regional areas.
“Many of our agricultural sectors across NSW are not only lacking female representation but experiencing major skills shortages, so there is currently an opportunity to choose from a diverse range of careers for women,” Kerri said.
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.
For more information about photography and imaging courses available at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
Media contact: Callum Darby-Linfitt, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, 02 7921 1823 firstname.lastname@example.org