More jobs than graduates for kids interested in ag
Currently there are six jobs for every graduate
IF YOU can think of a career, you can find it somewhere in the ag sector.
That was the message for more than 600 Darling Downs students who made the trip to Downlands for the annual Moo Baa Munch event run by AgForce.
AgForce School to Industry Liaison Officer Tanya Nagle said these days university graduates aiming for a career in agriculture would have their pick of jobs, with about six jobs advertised for every graduate available.
And the only way to address the skills shortage was letting kids know there was a lot more to agriculture than an old cocky out on his tractor in the beating hot sun mulching in a failed crop.
She said if you wanted to be a lawyer, you could work for an ag company and if you really loved photography you could look at rural journalism or media relations.
If marketing was more your style there was no shortage of big companies on the hunt for talent to help their businesses grow.
Even those keen to move to the big smoke were covered, with about half of all agricultural sector jobs now located in capital cities.
But part of the perception problem causing skills shortages actually originated on farms.
“Kids just don’t understand what’s out there, but also parents don’t want them to stay,” Ms Nagle said.
“It has been hard for them and they don’t want their kids to struggle like they struggled with droughts and hard times.
“I went to America last year for work and did tours through high schools and they had the same issues over there.”
She said there were plenty of barriers to a youngster looking to buy a farm and get it set for profit, but that didn't mean there weren’t plenty of other options.
And for those who did have their sights set on eventually taking over the family farm, there were a swathe of benefits to getting off the farm for a few years and pursuing other careers that would give them a wider perspective when it came to running their own enterprise.
One of those benefits was learning about new technologies, because few industries were advancing at the rate of agriculture.
Many of the jobs available today weren’t even thought of a decade ago and students of today would be the innovators of tomorrow.
Ms Nagle said one of the main aims of Moo Baa Munch and other educational initiatives was to open the eyes of youngsters to their options.
Among the range of interactive displays at the event were biosecurity detection dogs, branding cow hide, learning about aquaculture and Monsanto’s “caterpillar classroom”.
She said teachers loved the chance to get students out of the classroom and having fun while learning, especially towards the end of a hard school year.
❝ Kids just don’t understand what’s out there...” — Tanya Nagle
HARD AT WORK: Glennie girl Nina Fawckner tries her hand at branding cow hide at Moo Baa Munch, AgForce's student careers event, held at Downlands.