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School sharpens its agricultural offerings

HAPPY FARMERS: Member for Page Kevin Hogan with Alstonville High School year 11 student Zachariah Maxwell at the new Primary Industries Trades Skills Centre.
HAPPY FARMERS: Member for Page Kevin Hogan with Alstonville High School year 11 student Zachariah Maxwell at the new Primary Industries Trades Skills Centre. Marc Stapelberg

ALSTONVILLE High School students will be on the front line of a new generation of farmers coming through the VET courses.

The reason is a new Primary Industries Trades Skills Centre with a full cattle grid enclosure, computer weighing system, cattle crushes, small feed lot, sheep pens, tutorial areas, small machinery, ramps, mobile feedlots, and facilities for cattle, poultry and horticulture.

The skills centre will add to the already intense focus on primary industries at the school which has a small farm students use as part of their studies.

Alstonville High School principal John Douglas said that students and teachers had shown excitement at the facilities and even TAFE students had expressed jealousy at the facilities.

He said it was a real boon for Alstonville students, it would have positive flow on effects for other students in the area.

"Our course is competency based and it means they get a recognised Australian certificate upon leaving,” he said.

"It allows them to use equipment that is of an industry standard and beyond.”

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan was on hand to open the facilities after the Australian Government's funding commitment of $1,000,000 to the project.

"It is about equipping local students with the real skills they need to help them get the jobs that we will need in the future,” he said.

"Training centres like this enable local students to pursue vocational pathways and develop skills across a range of fields.

"As a small time farmer myself I am quiet envious of those cattle yards.

"If you saw mine you would know which one has the better one and I'm a bit envious of the tractor as well.

"In all seriousness though this is about getting students as work ready as possible.”

The project was first proposed in 2014 and completed at the end of term 1 this year.

The project was supported by the Regional Training Office and Kevin Hogan and was proposed to the Education Minister and related funding bodies on behalf of Alstonville High School.


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