Hawkesbury Rural Ambassador Leads The Charge For Women in Agriculture At TAFE NSW
TAFE NSW student Fiona Archer is blazing a trail for women in agriculture.
Recently named Hawkesbury Rural Ambassador and Lithgow Show Young Woman of the Year and a recipient of the Rotary Club of Richmond’s 16th Scholarship Awards, 25-year-old Certificate III in Agriculture student Fiona Archer is determined to inspire other young people to enter agriculture.
She is proud to have her advocacy efforts and academic excellence supported by the $1000 Rotary Scholarship.
Ms Archer’s career ambitions reflect a wider industry trend, with the Department of Agriculture ABARES figures estimating women account for about a third of agricultural workers.
According to the National Farmers’ Federation president David Jochinke, getting more women like Ms Archer interested in agricultural careers is critical for meeting the workforce demands of the future, which is anticipated to grow by 25 per cent over the next decade.
“We want to see more meaningful change toward gender diversity in the agricultural sector and we know that TAFE NSW is playing an integral role in helping to attract female students and train the next generation of women in the industry,” Mr Jochinke said.
Ms Archer currently works as an Agricultural Tour Guide on horseback, where she shares her knowledge of the land on a 6000-acre property.
“While I have grown up amongst farming, I found by studying at TAFE NSW I have a much broader knowledge of the various specialisations within agriculture. Now with both the theory and hands-on learning behind me, I feel like doors have opened to a lot more opportunities in the industry,” Ms Archer said.
With Australia’s agriculture industry set to be worth $100b by 2030 and more than half of Australia’s land dedicated to agricultural use, Ms Archer’s goal is to be at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to the challenges that lay ahead.
“A growing global population means a growing need for food, and agriculture is where that food comes from,” she said.
“To me, this means a career in agriculture is an amazing way to actively contribute to the community.
“As part of the Certificate III in Agriculture, we have studied quite a few skills in sustainability.
“My long-term goal is to one day have my own property, where I’m able to implement what I’ve learned about sustainable agriculture models and permaculture.”
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