Government invests in the future of agricultural education

A new model of agricultural education will benefit students across the State for years to come.

Image: An artist’s impression of the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education at the Western Sydney University campus.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the initiative means children from as far as Walgett to Woollahra will have an opportunity to study and consider a career in agriculture.

“Farmers in NSW are going through an incredibly tough period right now, but the future for agriculture is bright,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The next generation of farmers need to have confidence that they can walk back onto the farm and make a decent living. To do that they need to be equipped with the skills to deal with the increasing variability in primary production and take advantage of opportunities that come with the growing demand for our clean, green produce.

“This announcement will help ensure students across NSW are supported in their academic pursuit, developing advancements in science and technology to safeguard the future of the agricultural industry here in NSW.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the new model will preserve and enhance the rich history of agriculture in the Western Sydney Region, and will support agricultural and STEM education needs for students across NSW.

“This new approach will not just strengthen agricultural education opportunities, it will also foster industry engagement, create broader educational pathways with Western Sydney University and TAFE, and support teacher education in the areas of agriculture and STEM,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The new Centre of Excellence at the Western Sydney University Campus will be available to students right across the State, for intensive studies, regular visits or excursions from regional, metro and overseas students. This Centre is the first of its kind, which is incredibly exciting.

“We have also consulted extensively on the existing Hurlstone Agricultural High School, and I am pleased it will now stay at its current Glenfield site as an academically selective, boarding, agricultural high school; keeping its name and receiving an upgrade to boarding facilities.

“Students will also be able to apply for the new academic selective stream and an agricultural education specialty stream at Richmond High School based on a portfolio and interview which determines their interest and potential in agriculture.”

A sketch of new buildings surrounded by green space and trees with people walking in.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall welcomed the announcement and said students should have access to excellent facilities if studies in agriculture is something they wish to pursue.

“These facilities will provide an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in agriculture to study to engage and learn,” Mr Marshall said.

“The agriculture sector is absolutely imperative to the economy of NSW, valued at $17 billion. Providing students with purpose-built places to study agriculture in their high school years will help provide highly skilled workers for the future.”

Professor Barney Glover AO, Vice Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University, said, “This is a vitally important commitment by the NSW Government, particularly ahead of the opportunities presented by the coming airport and agri-tech initiatives across the Western Parkland City. Western Sydney University’s commitment to expanding its world-leading science facilities at Hawkesbury, including a 6ha commercial greenhouse, is driving greater collaboration between TAFE, schools, researchers, and industry, at a time when it most needed.”

The Department of Education will continue to work with Landcom on the future of the Glenfield Precinct Plan.

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