Indigenous land management and bush food farming are among the skills that will be taught in four new agriculture-focused training programs, launched last week by the North Coast Community College (NCCC).
The courses, to be taught at the NCCC’s primary industries’ training centre, include Level III certificates in Indigenous land management, conservation land management, production horticulture and agriculture.
The centre’s location at Wollongbar is next to a Big Scrub rainforest remnant, and the involvement of local Indigenous teachers means students can learn and practise traditional land management knowledge and skills.
NCCC’s Cultural Trainer, Tracy King said, ‘As a Bundjalung woman with cultural connections through kinship throughout the Bundjalung Nation, I am very passionate and a firm believer in Aboriginal cultural and heritage values to use as a tool for future generations’.
‘I am excited to be given this opportunity to be part of the North Coast Community College program in this shared exchange of knowledge, which will enable community members to be involved and engaged in future opportunities to develop their skills.’
Organised in collaboration with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the courses are subsidised by the NSW government and part-funded by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
Fifth largest sector
Those running them hope they will inspire a new generation of locals to enter the farming and agriculture industry.
This industry is the fifth largest in the Northern Rivers in terms of economic output, and the eighth largest in terms of employment.
The NCCC’s CEO Kate Kempshall said education was key to securing the industry’s future and giving young people opportunities.
‘In Australia, the average age of a farmer is 57, and in the Northern Rivers this average age is slightly higher,’ Ms Kempshall said.
‘The prospect of quality employment outcomes for participants is very real.’