The 2017 AGCAP Enrichment Tour – A Real ‘Eye-Opener’ for Students

AGCAP returned to its roots recently with a keen crop of students benefiting from an ‘Enrichment Tour’.

Students from across the New England and Hunter Valley regions saw different types of agribusiness and met the employers of enterprises ranging from cotton farms to gins, seed distributors to researchers.

AGCAP founder, Russell Stewart, took the students around some of the industry-leading agribusiness and research facilities in our region, including the Cardale irrigation operation, Cotton Seed Distributors, Cotton Grower Services, the Auscott Cotton Gin, Sydney University Plant Breeding Institute, Australian Cotton Research Institute and Wilga feedlot at Bellata. Mr Stewart said the tour was a “real eye-opener” for the students. The employers they met made them feel wanted and needed, for they know that up-skilling quality young people for rural careers and retaining them in regional communities is vital to the future of their industry.

The enrichment tour was a chance to learn about the many facets of the agricultural industry in the north-west and meet some of its leaders.
AGCAP works by allowing chosen students to undertake a traineeship in Year 11, where they can do one day a week paid work, while studying for a Certificate III in Agriculture. There are then pathways to Tocal agricultural College and the University of New England.

The students described the tour and their AGCAP experience, generally, as a great opportunity.

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AGCAP: Reaching out to Schools

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Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has communicated directly with schools in the region towards increased awareness of a program that can help address the rural and agribusiness skilled labour shortage and get young people a step ahead on a rewarding career path.

“RDANI has sent a letter and DVD video about the AgriBusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) program to almost 50 schools throughout the Northern Inland NSW region,” said RDANI Chair Russell Stewart. “It’s critical that our high schools are aware of the agribusiness career pathways open to their students. It was born from the need to highlight the options that can help keep quality young people in the bush.”

“I am confident that our educators are practical and work through their students’ options. They want what’s best for their students and that is now understood to be more than classes for the sake of classes. I urge our local principals or agriculture teachers to consider the AGCAP letter, watch the video and share it with students who might benefit from the program,” he said. “AGCAP helps to get rural careers started and keep quality young people in the bush.”

The awareness raising efforts about the AGCAP program have been developed with assistance from the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme, administered by the NSW Department of Industry.

RDANI is a long-time supporter and partner of AGCAP, producing a number of videos to show what it entails, how it has benefited young rural workers and addressed employer needs.

AGCAP is a proven initiative that leads to rewarding careers in the modern agribusiness industry. Commencing in Year 10, the AGCAP program sees participants complete up to a Certificate III in Agriculture and do one paid day of work per week within a partner agribusiness, while completing high school. The skills they gain along the way are formally recognised. The program gives rural and regional students an efficient pathway into AGCAP Partners, Tocal Agricultural College and the University of New England. Previous study undertaken by AGCAP students means there can be as little as two years to complete a bachelor degree in AgriFood Systems or Agriculture. The study and work options are flexible.

“While the second DVD focussed on employer and student testimonials, the third DVD focuses on the educators. The important message is that schools, employers, Tocal and UNE are now working together to provide better career pathways for young people in rural NSW,” Mr Stewart said.

The Principal of Tocal Agricultural College, Darren Bayley and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, Professor Annabelle Duncan, together with Regional Manager of Training Services NSW, Greg Poetschka featured in the DVD video. “These education providers are pioneering leaders in job-focused education and training in regional Australia. They explained in the video how they see AGCAP participants benefiting from the AGCAP program, how the students will fit into their institutions and most importantly, they spoke with a shared passion to get local young people the skills and education to advance their agribusiness careers,” said Mr Stewart. “There is real commitment to make a difference here. The UNE Vice-Chancellor has even promised scholarships to assist AGCAP participants.”

To view the latest video, search YouTube for Agribusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) for Educators 2016

To register your interest or find out more, click here.