ABIF meets with Victorian Parliament Education and Training Committee

On 5 December ABIF Directors Don Lawson OAM and Michael Pointer presented an ABIF submission to the Victorian Parliament Education and Training Committee’s inquiry into Agricultural Education and Training in Victoria.

The all-party parliamentary committee is chaired by David Southwick MP, Member for Caulfield, and consists of members representing metropolitan and regional/ rural electorates.

The ABIF submission concentrated on the urgent need to enhance the perception of agriculture in Australia as a career for young people, and it argued that there is a gap in the education system for agriculture. Primarily, that students leave tertiary agricultural institutions with little or no work experience in the industry and this has negative implications for the success of agriculture as a career option.

The submission highlighted Marcus Oldham College in Geelong as the exception to the paucity of work experience for students.

ABIF further asserted that there is a need to incorporate the study of agriculture into primary and secondary curriculums to encourage school leavers to pursue agriculture as a career. By integrating agriculture into subjects at the primary and secondary levels, students will be better informed about the role of agriculture and perhaps be more inclined to consider this as a rewarding career path.

The committee was briefed on the role of ABIF, and on the programs being provided by the foundation.

Important issues promoted by the committee included canvassing how career information was disseminated to students, the effect of skill shortages on the beef industry and how best to promote agriculture and careers in agriculture.

The committee was reminded that the beef industry is not just about cattle. The sector’s industry category is ‘food’, and therefore covers a diverse and complex range of career opportunities. The many different opportunities cover everything from research and development to soils, agronomy, genetics, animal welfare and wellbeing, food science and marketing to identify a small component of the potential career opportunities.

In addition to presenting to the Victorian Parliament inquiry ABIF has also made a submission to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee inquiry into all aspects of higher education and skills training to support future demand in agriculture and agribusiness in Australia.