In 2022, TAFE NSW helped a Condobolin local to find work in the booming agriculture industry.
Despite being a fourth generation Condobolin farmer, TAFE NSW graduate Meg Crouch, 24, turned to TAFE NSW to ensure her practical skills and knowledge were in the best possible position to help run the family’s mixed agriculture farm.
She completed a Certificate IV in Agriculture, a Diploma of Agriculture and a Certificate IV in Wool Classing at the North Wagga campus, and said it had given her a far better grasp of the industry.
“Farming is in my blood but I still thought it was important to get a different perspective on agriculture,” Ms Crouch said.
“The industry is always evolving, especially with new technology. I learned a lot about pest and disease in crops, and about chemical use, at TAFE NSW, and I’ve taken those new skills back to the farm.”
TAFE NSW Agriculture Head of SkillsTeam Scott Gylde said as NSW’s leading provider of vocational education and training, TAFE NSW was uniquely positioned to arm women with the hands-on, practical skills they need to develop successful careers.
“There are so many opportunities to make a difference in a rewarding agricultural career, and our skills-based courses allow women to hit the ground running in local industries and stay living and working in regional areas,” Mr Glyde said.
“Many of our agricultural sectors across NSW are experiencing major skills shortages, so there is currently an opportunity to choose from a diverse range of careers.”
The future of farming in the region involves boosting the number of women in the industry, according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), and TAFE NSW is proudly skilling this new workforce.
NFF president Fiona Simson, the first female president in the organisation’s 40-year history, said their goal was to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030.
“Progress reports from our Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program show we are well on the way to achieving this goal, if not knocking it out of the park,” Ms Simson said.
“The NFF has identified increasing the representation of women as key to achieving agriculture’s goal to be a $100 billion industry by 2030. We want to see more meaningful change toward gender diversity in the agricultural sector and we know that TAFE NSW is playing an integral role in helping to attract female students and train the next generation of women in the industry.”
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) indicate women comprise only 31 per cent of workers in agriculture. TAFE NSW provides women with pathways into a range of agribusiness careers and already boasts a relatively high proportion of female enrolments in agribusiness courses at 47 per cent.
TAFE NSW offers basic skillsets in practical skills including shearing and tractor operations through to advanced farm management qualifications such as the Diploma of Agriculture.
Vet nursing and animal care, wool classing, winemaking, horticulture and landscaping, livestock farming, food production, and cropping are just some of the other careers women can choose from in a booming industry that needs to grow its workforce by 25 per cent. Explore hundreds of courses in agribusiness at TAFE NSW.