Emerald ag college aim to upskill farmers
THE survival of the Emerald agricultural college depends on its ability to adapt to the demands of the modern agricultural industry, Minister John McVeigh told State Parliament.
Respected Emerald farmer Mike McCosker takes over the reins of the new college board as chairman from May 1, with Mr McVeigh saying he has "worked tirelessly" to get the college back on track.
Mr McCosker said positive meetings had been held with local producers about training needs and delivery in the area, and the board was currently interviewing candidates for the director's position.
"We need to get confidence back in the industry so they believe it is a reputable training institution," Mr McCosker said.
He said boosting enrolment numbers was as much a priority as offering a curriculum that was relevant to industry.
While Mr McVeigh acknowledged the Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson's input in ensuring a viable business model for the Emerald and Longreach colleges, he said it was just the first in a series of challenges to strengthen the institutions.
Mr McCosker said the goal was to pump out graduates with a strong suite of skills. "We believe a farmer can't just have a trade, he or she needs three trades and a master of everything - able to service a vehicle, understand plant nutrition and diseases and they need to be good financial managers."