Head of Environmental and Rural Sciences, at the University of New England, Professor Iain Young praised yesterday’s funding announcement from the Federal Government dedicating $2 million for teachers to learn more about Australia’s important agricultural sector.
“We need more funding programs like this. You cannot understate how important school teachers are to the future of agriculture in Australia. If we’re going to help meet the huge task of more than doubling our food production by 2050, we need the best and the brightest students to recognise the exciting career opportunities in the sector,” Professor Young said.
“Teachers play a key role in showing students the pathways into exciting and rewarding careers in the agricultural sector. As technology continues to transform the sector, many careers are almost unrecognisable from 10 years ago.”
Concluding last Sunday, almost 200 school agricultural and environmental science teachers from around the country converged on the University of New England’s Armidale. Stepping down from the whiteboard, teachers became the students again to learn how they can include the latest developments in agricultural and environmental science into their own methods.
Conference conveyor, Amy Cosby of UNE, said the Conference was a great way for teachers to stay up-to-speed with the latest technology changes in agriculture, so their students hit tertiary education or the workforce with a good understanding of these tectonic shifts.
“UNE is at the leading edge of a number of global research programs, while our SMART farm technologies have the capacity to dramatically increase the efficiency of farms, enabling farmers to remotely monitor and control resources and assets from the farm house or while on the move.
“Participating teachers had the opportunity to see these technologies in action at UNE and gain a better understanding of how the sector is changing and how to teach those changes to their own students,” said Ms Cosby.
Ms Cosby said the one message she wanted teachers to take back to their students was that careers in agriculture aren’t just about working on a farm.
“The reality is that only 10 per cent of the positions in the agriculture sector are farm-based. Jobs in agriculture and environmental science are now taking all different forms. With higher tech implementation, a new breed of science-based farmers is taking over from the ‘traditional farmer’.”
“These are exciting jobs that can take you around the world,” said Ms Cosby.
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