CSU works to address shortage of agricultural scientists
25 MAY 2011
How to fill the skill shortage in science based careers in primary industries will be the focus of a forum at CSU in Wagga Wagga next week.
How to fill the skill shortage in science based careers in primary industries will be the focus of a forum at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga next week.
CSU has joined forces with the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE), to establish an activity centre to encourage students to study science at university and go on to careers in food and fibre industries.
The CSU-PICSE activity centre is one of nine around Australia, and operates out of the E H Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.
CSU Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley said Australian universities are currently producing only 20 percent of the professionals needed to fill positions in primary industries.
According to Professor Pratley, a wide range of career opportunities exists for graduates from agriculture and related courses.
He said skilled scientists are needed to help agriculture meet the challenges of managing the environment while supplying food to the nation.
“Charles Sturt University is now one of the largest agricultural universities in Australia and its location in such a diverse agricultural region means it is ideally placed to provide training and research,” Professor Pratley said.
PICSE involves a national strategy of collaboration between the federal government, universities, their regional communities and local primary industries.
It aims to promote career opportunities in agribusiness and research institutions covering agriculture, aquaculture, ecology, horticulture, fisheries, water security, sustainability, climate change and the environment.
CSU-PICSE science education officer, Ms Emma Wordsworth, said a number of local activities are already planned including science camps, industry placements and professional development for teachers.
Ms Wordsworth will work with selected primary and secondary schools across the Riverina.
“Australia is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled science professionals to meet industry demand, particularly in those sectors in rural and regional Australia,” she said. “It takes six years to move a student from Year 11 through to graduation, so it’s important to act immediately to address this gap.”
PICSE science education officers from across the country will visit Wagga Wagga from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June.