New CEO passionate about agricultural education
MARK Tobin sees agriculture as the ultimate good news story and hopes to contribute to that narrative through his new role as Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges CEO.
Mr Tobin grew up in the cattle industry around Proston and Toowoomba, and even studied agriculture at Gatton College before changing courses to become an intensive care paramedic.
When he finished in the field after 27 years, Mr Tobin taught emergency medicine at the Rockhampton University of Queensland Rural Clinic.
But when the opportunity arose to help put together a new agricultural degree with the Central Queensland University, Mr Tobin jumped at the chance to get back to his roots.
So with a new-found passion for agricultural education, Mr Tobin moved to Emerald in June last year to take up the role as Emerald Agricultural Training College director.
"I love the idea of students going away with a good education and making good things happen in the agricultural industry,” he said.
"Through this role I can make a contribution to the industry through research and innovation and helping bring through the next generation.”
Now, just a year on from his move, Mr Tobin has been appointed QATC CEO.
"We've done some good things over the past 12months by reviewing the management structure and cutting the program down to a core program that concentrated on a generalist education,” he said.
"Now the students learn a bit of everything and we've lengthened the courses so they get more practical experience.
"That's the QATC's point of difference, we've got skin in the game, our kids learn it in the classrooms and they do it in the field - they're planting crops, mustering cattle, learning to ride and handle with horses and most importantly learning to apply business principles.
"The biggest thing we need to teach our students is how to make a profit.”
Based in Emerald, Mr Tobin plans to use the changes he and his team have made locally as the basis for his state-wide vision.
According to Mr Tobin, one of the most "exciting” programs running through the college is a partnership with Emerald State High School, providing students with the opportunity to graduate with their Year12 certificate and Certificates II and III in rural operations.