The second annual LEADAg initiative began in Emerald this week with 12 students selected to participate in the program to prepare for a career in agriculture.
LEADAg stands for leading, educating and developing the next generation of the agricultural workforce and will deliver hands-on, practical training supported by industry mentors to provide work ready skills and is developed and hosted by Central Queensland community-based organisation CHRRUP.
The project is funded by the Local Buying Foundation, SQNNSW Innovation Hub funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, and Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
After a successful program in 2022, LEADAg was inundated with 136 applications from students across Queensland, New South Wales & Victoria, who are keen to hone their skills and knowledge to become employment ready in the agricultural industries.
Agricultural Project Officer and LEADAg project lead Meg McCosker says it’s exciting to have such an engaged crop of young people ready to tackle ag careers.
“We were overwhelmed with applications this year which we believe is an indication that last’s years LEADAg was well received, and word is spreading about the value of our training,” she said.
“We had lots of very good students express interest and the 12 who have been selected are a great bunch of young people with a passion for agriculture and who are looking for their pathway to a fun and fulfilling career and we are here to help them get there.”
The coming week, which is the first of three week-long training blocks this year, will include training in cropping, small and large livestock management, small motor mechanics, as well as networking with local industry members.
Industry mentor Denis Kiely is welcoming LEADAg students to his farm again this year to dive further into cropping production and management.
“We were impressed with the project and the students last year so we were happy to be asked to join in again,” he said.
“I will be running hands on activities around irrigation and the students will leave with a fundamental understanding of the knowledge and skills required for irrigation application and management.”
“I’ll be aiming to give the students a clear picture of the broadacre cropping industry and show them there are plenty of exciting careers to be had because we are going to need more and more engaged, young people to come forward and be the future of ag.”
CHRRUP is a community-owned, profit for purpose organisation dedicated to thriving, connected rural communities. CHRRUP engages with a broad range of sectors, identifies gaps, and takes an active role in furthering rural communities through partnerships and delivering a mix of products, services and programs.
Project lead Meg McCosker said LEADAg has received tremendous support from the central and central west Queensland communities.
“We are collaborating with several local businesses throughout the project. For this week in central Queensland, the students are staying at the Camp Fairbairn Outdoor and will visit Costa Group, Aero Professional Services and the Queensland Government’s Smart Cropping Centre. Not only does this support our local community but it highlights to the students that regional communities are exciting and dynamic places to live and work.”