Machinery sector offers career opportunities
Tractor and Machinery Association executive director Richard Lewis said Australia’s farm machinery sector was a $7 billion business – and growing.
He said there had been a 15 per cent increase in demand for new tractors this year, which meant there was an increased need for skilled machinery industry workers.
“The skills shortage facing Australia’s agricultural sector has been gaining increasing attention, with a push to encourage young people to study science-based degrees at ag colleges and universities nationwide,” he said.
“The agricultural machinery sector also offers an exciting career path for young people, particularly given the vast technological advancements in machinery and farming practices in recent years, with autosteer equipment, GPS mapping and variable rate farming becoming increasingly common.
“Never before has technology adoption played such an integral role in enhancing farm productivity rates.
“In fact, the role of mechanisation is even more critical than chemical inputs in ensuring peak productivity and profitability on Australian farms.”
While mining has been competing with agriculture as a career option for young people, Mr Lewis said the forecast end to the mining boom in the next few years meant there had never been a better time to consider a career in agriculture.
However, while the career opportunities in the machinery sector were vast, the education options were currently limited.
Machinery and cutting edge technology such as precision ag do not feature in the curriculum at most universities and ag colleges.
Mr Lewis said he was hopeful this was beginning to change with the University of New England in northern NSW this year offering Australia’s first Graduate Certificate in Precision Agriculture.
He said major machinery manufacturers were also offering on-the-job training to ag science graduates.
Mr Lewis said the Tractor and Machinery Association planned to work with universities and ag colleges across Australia to ensure mechanisation and technology had their place in the curriculum.