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Industry partners with unis to address agriculture skills gap

Australian universities have partnered with a global provider of crop inputs and farm services to grow the agriculture workforce.

Australian universities have partnered with a global provider of crop inputs and farm services to grow the agriculture workforce.

The Nutrien Harvesting the Future Scholarship program will launch in 2024, offering four scholarships with a total investment of around $80,000 over the next few years.

It is open to students at the University of Western Australia, Charles Sturt University, University of New England, and Deakin University. Each university will manage the recruitment and selection process.

Nutrien Ag Solutions senior director of human resources, Shelley Nolan, said the business is focused on taking a skills-based approach to building the future agriculture workforce.

“Our work in early career planning is critical to addressing the substantial gaps in Australia’s agriculture workforce. For every one graduate of an agricultural degree, there are six job vacancies,” Nolan said.

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“We are focused on building the skills, capability, leadership, and knowledge of the future leaders of Australian agriculture. In addition to providing financial assistance, the Nutrien Harvesting the Future Scholarships also allows recipients to be mentored by some of our business leaders for the duration of their studies.”

Agriculture is one of the largest employers in rural and regional Australia, but Nolan said the Nutrien workforce is no longer made up solely of ag students from traditional farming backgrounds.

“This year we have welcomed over 400 people to our business, and many have never actually stepped foot on a farm,” she said.

“When these people sit down for a conversation with a fifth or sixth generation farmer their diversity in experience, perspective and skillset elevates the solutions we can provide to our farmer customers. It’s these conversations that are truly progressing Australian agriculture.”

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