The Food, Fibre & Timber Industries Training Council has commenced work on a project to
develop a package of practical, self-help resources that can and will be used by schools (principals, VET Co-ordinators and teachers) to develop and implement agricultural production related VET programs.
It is anticipated that this ‘toolbox’ will lead to an increase in the number of WA Year 11 and 12 students completing an agricultural production related Certificate II, and thereby increase the number students completing school with an understanding of and some skills in the agrifood sector.
Agrifood is vital to Australia and Western Australia’s society and economy. It provides the food that we and other countries need to survive and flourish. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts that global food production needs to increase by at least 60% by 2050. Given the limited availability of suitable land, it is expected that 85% of any increase in production will be achieved via increased yields and cropping intensity.
Most people now live and are raised in an urban environment with little exposure to the agrifood industry. Agriculture is often seen by students, parents and teachers as providing jobs that are practical, outdoor, relatively low skilled and career limited. However, agriculture is similar to most industries; it is becoming ‘hi-tech’ with a high need for people with sound skills in Enterprise, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Employees at all levels within the agriculture sector are now expected to be able to apply scientific principles, solve analytic problems, manage data and adopt new technologies. Moreover many people in other industry sectors work on or with the agricultural sector.
It is recognised that many schools do not have experience with the delivery of agrifood VET programs, access to resources and facilities and/or teachers that possess relevant backgrounds and training. However, there are a number of strategies for addressing these issues and the development and articulation of these should enable more schools to pursue agricultural VET programs.
Providing students with learning that highlights research, technology and innovation aspects of modern agriculture will give them the opportunity to develop entry level skills and understandings that will encourage them to include agrifood in their post-school education, training and employment.
A stakeholder advisory group has been stablished to inform and guide the project as it progresses. The project commenced in September and aims to be completed by April 2019. Anyone wanting more information or to contribute issues and ideas can email email@example.com or contact Paul Etheredge on 08 9361 2800.