Pork Industry Training WA has appointed Frances Gartrell as its new training officer.
PITWA chairman and Department of Agriculture and Food WA senior research officer, Dr Bruce Mullan, said Ms Gartrell was well qualified to address the many training challenges facing Western Australia’s pork industry, particularly at the on-farm pig production level.
"Frances was appointed from a very strong field of applicants after the pork industry recently reviewed the training officer position and overwhelmingly supported it," he said.
"The pork industry is increasingly reliant on adoption of new technology and for that to succeed the industry relies on having skilled and motivated people.
"Attracting new people to agriculture and the pork industry, in particular, is often challenging, but with her background in media and first-hand knowledge of agriculture and country life, Frances has the right blend of skills and experience to assist the industry to meet its goals."
Ms Gartrell grew up on a Brookton farm and has worked at Calingiri, also in WA’s wheatbelt.
While new to the pork industry, she has a strong background in workplace training and media.
She graduated with a diploma in Multimedia, a degree in Mass Media and is studying part time a Masters of Human Resources’ Management and was most recently employed as an Occupational Health and Safety training officer.
Ms Gartrell sees training as a way to promote the pork industry and alter the perception of agriculture-based employment and she’s keen to advance the sector.
"The pork industry, particularly the production sector, is a very open industry that encourages and welcomes people with a variety of skills and experience, but the most important thing people need is interest and enthusiasm," she said.
"If they have that, then we’re very keen to provide them with the training.
"Encouraging young people to move to the country can be a challenge and part of the job is helping people not just with employment, but with such important social aspects as building relationships, sports and things that allow them to fit well into a community."
Ms Gartrell said a big part of her job was identifying the gaps in pork industry training and while it was still early days for her, one obvious area was the problem of older workers in the industry who had built up years of experience, but lacked formal training.
She replaced Emalyn Loudon, who is now based in Canberra as Manager, Technology Transfer and Adoption with Australian Pork Limited.