SuniTAFE hosted its inaugural Horticulture Workforce Development Forum in Mildura last month to identify and design a strategy to provide requisite skills for succession and expansion of horticulture/agriculture in the northern Mallee region

In the face of new technologies, unknown future jobs and sector disruption, it seems that timing is right for this ambitious 12 week project led by Wendy Perry, Managing Director of Workforce BluePrint to identify current and future workforce requirements.

Common and long held frustrations to farm owners, operators and managers were reaffirmed at the forum.

The project, made possible from $50k seed funding received by SuniTAFE from the Victorian Government Workforce Training Innovation Fund, will perform a comprehensive audit of workforce gaps, demands and future needs facing the sector.

“There is the chance to take an innovative approach in responding to these challenges,” suggests Wendy Perry from Workforce BluePrint, “with a real appetite to find the ideal mix of expertise, skills and aspiration, ultimately improving on-farm sustainability and productivity.”

Recently appointed General Manager of Education at SuniTAFE Mildura Robin Kuhne has arrived with a vision to reenergise how the Institute supports horticulture and agriculture. 

Hailing from the Wimmera region, Robin is passionate in advocating for the importance of sustainable and profitable farming for the future prosperity of regional Australia.

“Listening to producers’ challenges and areas for growth will enable us to use their input to design this project and come up with ways to improve operations and systems. 

Tapping into facilities and resources will result in a different way of working together.”

“One thing that excites me about coming to SuniTAFE is the opportunities, facilities and talent in the region”

 “With a renewed focus, the SuniTAFE farm and all of its training components will become highly valued assets that the farming sector can call its own for many years to come.”