Skill Shortages in The Agricultural Sector
Submission to the Queensland Government on
The Skill Shortages in the Agricultural Sector
Table of Contents
The Australian Farm Institute
Skill Shortages in Agricultural Sector
Educating Future Generations
Shifting Rural Population
The Effects of Declining Rural Population
The Australian Farm Institute
The Australian Farm Institute was set up in 2003, to conduct research into public policy and into strategic issues facing Australian agriculture. It also promotes policies and solutions that allow farmers to have the highest level of economic and social wellbeing (Australian Farm Institute, 2013). This research is conducted by leading academics and consultants both nationally and internationally; the goal is to promote the outcomes of their research to policy makers (Australian Farm Institute, 2013). The Australian Farm Institute's research is overseen by experienced senior researchers and academics, thus the committee ensures the research is of the highest caliber and remains neutral. The three key themes of research are; farm business, farm resources, and farm communities. The institution gives opportunities for Australian farmers and the agricultural sector to operate in a profitable and sustainable manner (Australian Farm Institute, 2013). Skill Shortages in Agricultural Sector
This submission addresses the concerns of the skill shortages in the Australian agricultural sector. Currently the Agricultural sector makes up for 3 percent of Australia’s total gross domestic product (GDP). The Australian agricultural sector includes 134,000 businesses, 99% of which are family owned and operated. This sector employs over 1.6 million jobs to the Australian economy (National Farmer's Federation, 2013). This industry has an ageing population and is becoming a concern for the future, with all the baby boomers forthcoming retirement, as of 2008 more than 30,000 farmers were 65 years and older (National Farmer's Federation, 2013). Over the past 20 years farms have become much larger but decreased in total numbers dramatically. Subsequently, the reduction in the number of farms and farming families has been the leading contributor to the population declines in the small towns that have traditionally serviced the farm sector. This is a scary thought for most knowing that in the years to come there may not be enough educated agricultural graduates to keep up with the high demand that the agriculture sector requires. Educating Future Generations
The Australian agricultural sector is one of the most profitable and most important industries to the Australian economy. Although it holds so many opportunities for jobs and careers it is the first to get overlooked by young people when they are choosing their future career paths. Agriculture is a knowledge intensive sector, with a strong demand for skilled professionals. Estimates indicate a potential demand for 6000 tertiary qualified graduates per year in the sector. However, the sector faces a significant undersupply of graduates, with Australian universities graduating fewer than 800 graduates per year in agriculture (Pratley & Copland, 2008). The lack of students choosing to go in to agriculture, is leading to a rapid decline in the amount of young skilled workers replacing the older generation that is quickly declining thereby compromising the future of the industry. ‘It is clear that agriculture is of low interest in comparison to other sectors; young people have poor perceptions of the agriculture sector and are searching for a higher level of skill and knowledge in more attractive sectors’ (Allen Consulting Group Pty Ltd , 2012). The Australian government could begin to implement training and...
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