Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tough image blights agriculture studies


By: AAP
A POOR perception of life on the land has led to a sharp decline in the number of universities offering agricultural courses in Australia.
Just nine Australian universities now provide agricultural studies - down from from 23 ten years ago.

Low demand for places stems largely from misconceptions among students and parents, Professor Terry Spithill from La Trobe University's agriculture faculty said in a submission to a parliamentary Senate committee hearing in Melbourne today.

While many associated life on the land with bank foreclosures on farms and market collapses for key farm commodities, in reality job prospects in the sector were "tremendous".

In northwest Victoria, not one person had applied for more than 30 vacancies for crop agronomists offering salaries ranging from $40,000 to $55,000.

Across the country 4000 agriculture-related positions needed to be filled each year, but only 300 students were studying agricultural degrees.

Giving evidence to the Education, Employment, Workplace References Committee, Professor Spithill said the agricultural sector had failed to promote itself.

He recommended more agricultural scholarships and cadetships be offered to help boost student numbers.

The Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee is due to table its findings in the Senate on June 8.
Original Article Here

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