04 Apr The Farmer Wants a Workforce – Record number of projects funded across the state to attract students into agriculture
Amidst empty supermarket shelves and inflated produce prices, our food production is more important than ever, however according to the Food Supply Chain Alliance, the industry is currently short of 172,000 workers. Victorian LLENs are excited to be playing a big role in meeting this demand thanks to record new investment via the Victorian Government’s Secondary Schools Agricultural Fund.
Ten Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) across Victoria will be delivering projects that support students to explore and transition into agricultural careers, through industry immersion programs, newly-developed curriculums, hands-on ‘taster’ experiences, industry speakers and access to VET courses.
Several programs will build knowledge and capacity in schools, creating a lasting impact.
South West LLEN will establish a curriculum for student-centred learning experiences in the food and fibre sector, with a focus on AgTech.
North Central LLEN will develop an innovative careers education program that explores the 21st – century agricultural workforce.
WynBay LLEN will establish an inclusive and engaging careers discovery program.
Central Ranges LLEN will establish a VET Agriculture offering, which is currently not available in the region.
Northern Mallee LLEN will roll out a nine-week industry immersion program to encourage students to pursue a VET course in agriculture.
Central Grampians LLEN will deliver an in-school program centred around skills required in the agricultural research sector.
Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN will immerse students in an exciting array of ‘hands-on’ agriculture and STEM activities at Longerenong College.
Murray Mallee LLEN have partnered with a major local farm to arrange excursions, tours and guest speakers for several cohorts of students.
Goulburn Murray LLEN will expand the successful RACE-Gippsland project to the local Goulburn region and will deliver industry-school partnerships and agri-tech roadshow experiences for year 7-12 teachers and students.
North East Tracks LLEN will expand its annual Food and Fibre Careers Day to include pre and post-event activities, and sustainable engagement with food and fibre industry sectors.
This variety of programs will broadly challenge misconceptions which may deter young people from pursuing pathways into the industry, showcasing a breadth of rewarding career options from agronomy to engineering.
These initiatives across the state will also build on the work that LLENs are doing in partnership with an ARC-funded project at Melbourne University, securing the next generation into farming and food careers.
According to Trent McCarthy, Chair of VicLLENs: “The action on multiple fronts and across several regions will add up to a significant and widespread impact on the agricultural workforce.”
“We’re thrilled the government has backed our big push to support more young people into agriculture”