MINISTER for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke has launched a new initiative that provides financial and mentoring support for up to ten young Australians who are committed to contributing to Australia’s rural sector.
The Investing in Youth Undergraduate Studentship Program encourages school leavers to think about a career in primary industries.
“Young people are the future of rural Australia, and it is important to ensure they have the tools available to them to succeed,” Mr Burke said.
“Working in agriculture goes beyond being on the land - we also need scientists, agricultural economists and environmental professionals.
“Our farmers have a critical role in providing food and fibre for the nation.
“With the median age of farmers now over 50 years, it is important to ensure the next generation realises the many career pathways available for those wanting to work in our agricultural industries.
“The program aims to attract more young Australians into the field of primary industries study by providing them with financial assistance throughout their degrees, as well as giving them tailored support in the form of professional and experienced mentors.
“Whilst we have seen some positive signs recently in relation to the number of people enrolling in university agricultural courses, we know that to meet future demand we must continue to increase the momentum and produce more graduates who are passionate about working in rural Australia.” Mr Burke said.
A number of government and industry organisations are working in collaboration to fund and deliver the program. These include RIRDC, the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd, Australian Pork Ltd, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Australia Ltd.
Up to ten new scholarships will be offered across Australian universities in 2010. Successful recipients will be selected on the basis of their commitment to primary industries and to a career in primary industries. The scholarships will provide support to undergraduate students for a period of up to four years.
Applications can be downloaded from the RIRDC website, www.rirdc.gov.au a> or by contacting RIRDC on 6271 4100. Applications close COB Friday 29th January 2010.