Ag opportunities capture interest from next gen

Ag opportunities capture interest from next gen


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INTEREST in agricultural careers continues to be strong with numbers studying the subject at university and tafeSA on the rise in recent years.

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INTEREST in agricultural careers continues to be strong with numbers studying the subject at university and tafeSA on the rise in recent years.

GROWING FIELD: University of Adelaide's Agricultural Science department head Jason Able said there has been a gradual lift in the popularity of the industry.

GROWING FIELD: University of Adelaide's Agricultural Science department head Jason Able said there has been a gradual lift in the popularity of the industry.

The number of first-year students in the University of Adelaide's Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences has lifted 15 per cent in the past five years, with more students expected in the mid-year intake.

Agricultural Science department head Jason Able said numbers had been improving in recent years. 

"We typically get a dozen or more (new students) in the mid-year enrolment, so we will be above last year's enrolments," he said. "There is a significant upward trend and it isn't just localised to Adelaide, it's across the country."

Professor Able said there was the oft-repeated statistic about five jobs available for each agricultural graduate, while he estimated about 91 per cent of all of the students through this course had jobs by the graduation ceremony.

He said the rising interest in agriculture could also be attributed to a shift in values.

"Our younger generation are very passionate and want to give back and agriculture is a way to do that," he said.

"Agriculture is important to society and the welfare and wellbeing of everyone." 

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Prof Able said there had been an increasing number of students coming from non-agricultural backgrounds.

"We've got a set population in this state so it's great to be able to tap into more people, particularly those that are city-based, that A, there is a career path and B, there are different options," he said.

Classes also had a fairly even split between males and females, which was a change he had noticed in recent years.

"Beyond five years ago it was heavily male dominated but there are signs it has moved towards a 50-50 basis, which is good to see," he said.

TafeSA's Foundation Skills, Primary Industries, Animal and Laboratory Sciences acting director Karren Raper said the institute had a rolling intake and so numbers were not fixed but were generally rising.

“We are seeing an increase in enrolments across the state in general agriculture studies for traineeships and certificate qualifications," she said.

Our younger generation are very passionate and want to give back and agriculture is a way to do that. - JASON ABLE

“There is growth in enrolment numbers across our agriculture, shearing, wool handling and wool classing qualifications.”

Ms Raper said part of this increase was linked to more courses being on offer, compared with last year.

“We have close links to industry and this has resulted in some new qualifications being offered to students to address skill requirements," she said.

She said the agricultural programs through schools provided a direct pathway for school leavers, while there was still interest from mature students and career changers.

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