More jobs than grad­u­ates for kids in­ter­ested in ag

Currently there are six jobs for ev­ery grad­u­ate

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - ME­GAN MAS­TERS me­gan.mas­ters@thechron­i­cle.com.au

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

PHOTO: ME­GAN MAS­TERS

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.

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