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Future skills to extend to agriculture and aquaculture

Published:20 May 2022

A new tech skills hub being established in regional Queensland will bring together industry, government and education providers to expedite career pathways and skilling solutions for the State’s agriculture and aquaculture workforce.

The Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub project will determine the skills, knowledge and ways of working required to skill the current and future workforce needed for a modern sector and technologies and other areas of Industry 4.0.

The Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub is a partnership between the Australian Government, Queensland Government, CQUniversity Australia and TAFE Queensland to deliver the sector’s workforce with skills and capabilities through a funding agreement valued at almost $1.7 million.

The partner organisations will work together to engage with industry and community to develop training programs aligned to new career pathways and future occupations within the agribusiness sector including aquaculture, horticulture, sugar and beef.

The training programs will be targeted at low and semi-skilled workers already within the sector for them to gain competencies in new skills and technology to support the evolution of the agribusiness industry and future proof the region’s aquaculture and agriculture workforce.

The partners will collaborate to identify current, emerging, and predictive skilling requirements, to support technological advances in the sector, with a focus on the adoption and use of increased levels of agribusiness technology.

TAFE Queensland Project Director, Robert Petherbridge said that the partnership will drive the uptake and demand for new technologies and automation in key industries across Queensland.

“This is an exciting time as we see the emergence of new jobs and industries in regional Queensland.

“Driven by automation and new technologies, Queensland’s agriculture and aquaculture industries are changing with jobs of the future being realised today.

“This means we need to provide targeted workforce strategies to reskill and upskill existing workers and new entry level programs to attract new entrants into our industries here,” said Mr Petherbridge.

“This is about regional skills and workforce development and new, exciting career pathways for existing and future workforces to get the skills they need for rewarding careers in Queensland’s agriculture and aquaculture industries.”

CQUniversity’s Vice-President, VET Operations, Peter Heilbuth said that CQUniversity was well placed to support the development of new skills and training packages for the sector due to the University’s close engagement and research with the agricultural industry.

“CQUniversity has a strong track record when it comes to industry engagement in the agricultural sector and has been delivering research in the AgTech space for several years.

“Using this knowledge and expertise of how automation and technology can be applied to industry will help to ensure we are developing and delivering industry relevant training packages that are applicable to current and future industry requirements,” said Mr Heilbuth.

“Along with this, we are also confident that emerging technologies and the uptake of hi-tech equipment within the industry will help to attract a new generation of professionals to the industry.”

The project has received $1.5 million in funding from the Australian Government under Regional Recovery Partnerships, and additional cash and in-kind support is being delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government and other partners to support existing plans and priorities within the region.

The initiative seeks to broker connections between all levels of government to increase information flow, share technical expertise and strengthen regional development outcomes and to support existing plans and priorities within the region.

The skills hub was launched in Mackay on 20 May 2022 with more than 40 stakeholders in attendance.