News story

New students set sights on agricultural skills training

4 March 2016

Employers in the agricultural industry are encouraged to put their hand up to provide hands on experience for a growing number of students keen to establish a career in the sector.

Students are taking to the sheep yards, laboratory and classroom at Muresk Institute near Northam to complete the Integrated Diploma Program (Diploma of Agriculture) – a two-year course delivered by the University of Queensland.

Muresk Institute General Manager Prue Jenkins said employers and organisations were now being sought to host students for the industry placement component of the course.

“We are looking for support from agribusinesses, agronomists, farm machinery dealers, and grain and livestock exporters, for example, to give students valuable industry experience,” she said.

“We had great support from employers for students who carried out the first year of the program last year and we hope this continues. It’s a great opportunity for employers to discover potential new employees while students gain the skills and experience necessary to ensure they are job ready when they graduate.”

Ms Jenkins said the Diploma program was delivered with a combination of theory and practical learning.

“Muresk Institute includes a working farm and we have also developed key partnerships with industry, so students gain experience in a range of activities and research projects,” she said. “Workplace training complements the practical learning students undertake through the Diploma.”

The Diploma has been designed specifically for Western Australian farming conditions, equipping graduates with the skills to work in a range of areas, such as agricultural production and management, rural merchandising, technical advisory roles, and research and development. New students set sights on agricultural skills training.JPG

Ms Jenkins said this was the second year the program had been offered, filling a gap in the market between certificate graduates and university degree programs.

“The course has generated a lot of interest this year, with students from various regions of WA enrolling,” she said.

“This year, the university has also offered the course to part time enrolments. This is suited to those students who need to work while also completing their studies. Part time students are able to choose a minimum of two courses per semester, and undertake half of the required industry placement per year.”

The Diploma is just one of many training programs delivered at Muresk Institute this year. Among its offerings is a full calendar of short courses. Led by industry experts, courses will be presented in a range of areas, such as feedlot production and nutrition, precision agriculture, farm chemical use, and the popular low stress livestock handling.