INCREASING the proportion of university graduates working in agriculture will help the industry adapt to the changes it faces in the future, Charles Sturt University’s new head of agriculture believes.
Professor John Mawson has taken up the post as head of the university’s school of agricultural and wine sciences, which has teaching operations in Orange and Wagga Wagga.
He comes to CSU from London, where he was working as head of the department of applied science at South Bank University.
Professor Mawson said today’s agriculture graduates would be at the forefront of managing the challenges faced by the industry.
“We need to provide graduates who are able to take up the very many jobs that are on offer and contribute usefully to the industry, and provide them with the skills to manage and adapt to the changes the industry will face in the future. These include climate change, efficient water use, enhancing sustainability and managing carbon and rising to the challenge of providing food and fibre to a much larger population,” he said.
Professor Mawson is based in Wagga but has already visited Orange and hopes to spend more time on the campus this year.
He envisages a future where a much larger proportion of the agricultural workforce has a tertiary qualification.
“The proportion of university-trained employees in the industry is not as high as it should be. We desperately need to attract more students into agricultural careers,” he said.