McGowan Government invests in skills for vital agricultural sector

  • $8 million capital works investment for agricultural training at Muresk Institute as part of WA Recovery Plan
  • New Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation to meet industry needs of Western Australia’s $6 billion grains industry   
  • New fee-free Broadacre Harvest Operations short course available to meet industry need for more skilled workers  
  • Investments support State’s $11.7 billion primary industries that employ more than 50,000 Western Australians throughout the supply chain
  • Muresk Institute is set to become home to a new $7.5 million Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation to train farm machinery technicians in new and emerging technologies as part of the McGowan Government’s $167.4 million infrastructure investment in TAFE.

    Western Australia is Australia’s largest grain-growing region and, as the rate of technology adoption escalates, the demand for agricultural machinery apprentices is expected to grow significantly.

    The farm mechanisation sector is critical to good crop yields and profitability with about eight per cent of farming budgets spent on machinery repairs and maintenance.

    A centralised specialist training centre was identified by industry as key to its success. Muresk has a rich history of providing world-class agricultural education and training and is uniquely placed to meet industry needs.

    The new centre, coupled with industry partnerships and affordable and free training options for the agricultural sector, will help ensure a pipeline of skilled workers.

    The project will include construction of two large machinery training workshops, covered hardstand area, classrooms and new training equipment.

    In addition, $500,000 has been allocated towards a specialist shearing shed to provide practical training to students in wool handling and shearing.

    A free short course in harvesting, as part of the $25 million Recovery Skillsets package, will also be available to provide training to meet the immediate and emerging skills needs of the multi-billion-dollar sector. 

    This capital works project is part of the McGowan Government’s $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs plan, which will deliver state-of-the-art learning opportunities for students and boost the Western Australian economy by generating jobs.

    As part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to regional WA, more than half of the total spend has been allocated to regional projects.

    The State Government has recently increased the number of half price courses available, as part of the Lower fees, local skills initiative. Initially launched in January, the initiative halved the cost of training for 34 high priority qualifications. In July, the program was expanded to include an additional 39 courses slashed by up to 72 per cent to align with the State’s immediate economic needs following COVID-19.

    The courses with reduced fees are also targeted at job opportunities that relate to capital works initiatives such as the Rebuilding our TAFEs plan.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “Training is a key component of the WA Recovery Plan, and that’s why we are investing in the biggest TAFE capital works program in history.

    “The upgrades to TAFE infrastructure across the State will create local jobs, while providing better facilities for students.

    “We are also making TAFE more affordable, through significant reductions in course fees and Free Short Courses. Our Government has made training a priority, and the rebuilding our TAFEs plan will ensure WA is well placed to recover, stronger than ever.”

    As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:

    “This funding demonstrates the McGowan Government’s commitment to growing WA’s food industries and investing in regional WA by providing the agricultural workforce with industry relevant training and access to the latest technology.

    “The creation of the new Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation at Muresk Institute follows extensive industry consultation and is part of a $167.4 million capital works component of our Rebuilding our TAFEs plan.

    “This record infrastructure spend complements our other initiatives to rebuild WA’s training sector, support displaced workers and provide training for emerging skills needed in the community.”

    As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

    “Modern farming machinery underpins industry productivity – having access to training on the latest equipment is essential for the grains industry.

    “This will be a fantastic collaboration between Government and industry to deliver contemporary skills needed in the agricultural sector.

    “WA is the nation’s largest grain-growing region, and we have a big opportunity to develop skills to service the agricultural machinery sector locally.

    “Muresk is a world-class agricultural training institution and this investment will place WA at the forefront nationally of agricultural machinery training.”

    Education and Training Minister’s office – 6552 5700

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