Diploma starts building machine know-how

27 Sep, 2014 02:00 AM
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Farm Machinery and Industries Association executive officer John Henchy.
"Without mechanisation farming stops,"
Farm Machinery and Industries Association executive officer John Henchy.

A NEW agricultural diploma should be "only the start" of efforts to cater for an industry knowledge gap in mechanisation, said Farm Machinery and Industry Association executive officer John Henchy.

Mr Henchy said the educational opportunities need to be driven further to allow the WA industry to keep up with technology.

"Without mechanisation farming stops," Mr Henchy said.

"It is such a crucial aspect of farming and there has been very little training provided for this area for a long time."

Training and Workforce Development Minister Kim Hames announced a new diploma in agricultural technologies would be run out of the Muresk Institute in partnership with Queensland University from next year.

The diploma is expected to include a core focus agronomy, animal husbandry and agricultural mechanisation, while also featuring a 50:50 ratio of theory and hands-on training.

Mr Hames pointed to a "widening gap in the market between trade certificate graduates and university degree programs", and said the new two-year diploma was in response to feedback from the industry.

Mr Henchy said he hoped to see mechanisation included in every agricultural education program in some form, in order to give graduates the basic knowledge of how different farm technologies work.

"All we're really looking for is an across-the-board general awareness," he said.

"Mechanisation can be useful in a range of agricultural roles outside of the farm and basic awareness can give you valuable knowledge."

Mr Henchy said mechanisation knowledge could be useful for those working with chemicals and fertiliser to advise on technology to apply the product.

"With the technology that is available, you could help your clients become efficient and save so much time and energy, just by having a background in mechanisation," he said.

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