Australians who start an agriculture degree next year will pay significantly less for their education and graduate into a profession with strong employment prospects.
From next year, Australian students will pay just $3,950 to study agriculture, which is a 59 per cent reduction in the cost, under the Morrison Government’s Job-ready Graduates reforms.
Agriculture graduates enjoy strong full-time employment outcomes on graduation, with a full-time employment rate of 79.5 per cent, compared to the graduate average of 72.2 per cent.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said Australians should consider a career in agriculture.
“Agriculture will be essential to help drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19 and the sector will need highly-skilled workers,” Mr Tehan said.
“Applications to study university courses in agriculture, environmental and related studies saw the largest growth in 2020 so our reforms to make degrees cheaper and create more places will help turbocharge demand.
“From next year, up to 30,000 more Australians will get the opportunity to benefit from a higher education thanks to our Job-ready Graduates reforms combined with the $550 million for extra university places and short courses in this year’s Budget.
“Our Government has a plan to support more Australians to study degrees that lead to jobs.”
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said that industry is crying out for more agriculture graduates.
“Agriculture offers a diverse range of career opportunities and is a strong employer in rural and regional Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.
“In order to reach its goal of becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030, the agriculture industry needs passionate and enthusiastic young people to come through the ranks.
“Developing our human capital is a key focus of our Ag2030 plan and these reforms back in our future farmers, agronomists and researchers by making agriculture degrees more affordable.
“These reforms will ensure the agricultural workforce has the right skills and knowledge to innovate and develop new ways of doing what it does best – feeding Australians and exporting to the world.”
National Farmers Federation Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said:
“The career pathways in agriculture are boundless: from animal husbandry, to developing and operating state-of-the-art machinery and technology, to business, marketing and analysis; to plant breeding.
“Currently, the need for graduates of tertiary agriculture qualifications is five times larger than the supply of graduates (according to the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture).
“The NFF’s goal for agriculture to be Australia’s next $100 billion industry includes a target to double the number of tertiary and vocational agriculture graduates by 2030.
“Today’s announcement will go a long way to making this vision a reality.
“The reduction in university fees coupled with the plentiful job opportunities, means there has never been a better time to pursue a career in agriculture.”
Last year, 1,311 students graduated nationwide with a degree in agriculture and forestry: 447 from a NSW university, 331 from Victoria, 256 from Queensland, 137 from South Australia, 92 from Western Australia, 40 from Tasmania, seven from the ACT and one from the Northern Territory.
The University of Melbourne produced 278 agriculture and forestry graduates in 2019, followed by The University of Queensland (233), Charles Sturt University (182), and The University of New England (149).