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Partnering for career solutions

PARTNERSHIPS: Kirk Lang (MSF Sugar), Leanne Kruss (QAWN), John Hawkins (MSF Sugar) and Tec NQ student Jack Schincariol of Dimbulah.

JACK Schincariol wants to be an electrician – but not just any electrician. As a member of Generation Z, Jack, who hails from Dimbulah, is a part of a growing cohort who are keen to capitalise on new technological career pathways in agriculture.

And thanks to a unique partnership between FNQ Growers and the Townsville-based Tec- NQ, 16-year-old Jack is already on his way. Tec-NQ is a senior boarding school in Townsville for students interested in trade pathways.

Its new technical pathway, P-Tech, was developed in partnership with Growcom, the peak representative body for Queensland’s horticultural industry, which is a partner of FNQ Growers. P-Tech students are learning the STEM skills for Industry 4.0 including new and emerging agricultural technology.

Leanne Kruss, who is delivering the state-funded TEII (Training in Emerging and Innovative Industries) project on behalf of FNQ Growers and is part of the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network (QAWN), said there was a real shift towards career paths in technology, driven by industry need.

Ms Kruss, who helped Jack secure work experience with leading sugar miller MSF Sugar, said traditional roles in agriculture were disappearing to make way for Industry 4.0.

“The industry is becoming more automated across the entire value chain and the traditional roles are evolving,” Ms Kruss said.

“There are career pathways for students in integrated technology, vision systems and instrumentation, even within trades, and I’m so pleased that through FNQ Growers’ alliance with Growcom, we have been able to help Jack fulfill his dreams of pursuing a career while completing his senior education.

“Tec-NQ works in partnership with industry to deliver training that runs parallel with the evolving digital era of agriculture, fulfilling skills gaps and providing valuable jobs.”

Tec-NQ’s Jennifer Trybula said the organisation’s partnership with QAWN was instrumental in securing Jack work experience.

“Jack was keen to get experience working with technicians in a modern, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,” Ms Trybula said.

“MSF Sugar has provided him with the perfect opportunity to see the technology of Industry 4.0 in practice.”

Jack completed two weeks work experience with MSF Sugar’s sugar mill on the Tablelands – one of the most modern in the industry – which provided him with a unique opportunity to learn about advanced manufacturing in agriculture.

Kirk Lang, MSF Sugar, said the cane industry was one of the most complicated in the agricultural sector.

“Young people these days are technologically savvy… the older industry not so much, so the more young people you bring in, the more fresh, new ideas our industry benefi ts from,” Mr Lang said.

“It’s a win-win.”

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