If enrolments at agricultural colleges are anything to go by, the agriculture industry is well and truly in a boom.
All of WA’s six agricultural colleges at Cunderdin, Denmark, Harvey, Morawa, Narrogin and Bindoon are at capacity for residential places with strong selection pressure for students wishing to attend any of the agricultural colleges.
This year has also seen a significant increase in female students attending the colleges. For the WA College of Agriculture, Denmark, 2017 is the first year that the number of female students outnumber male students.
This year there are 66 female students compared to 64 males, which principal Kevin Osborne said came from a concerted effort by the school to increase the ratio of female students.
“While there isn’t much in it, if you go back six or seven years girls would have made up 20 per cent of numbers at the college and one of our priorities back then was to boost the number of female students, so we have done pretty well with that,” he said.
He said the boost in female numbers could be attributed to the introduction of a formalised equine program, a strong Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) program and the school’s reputation for a safe residential college.
“This is against the backdrop of the wider social change that is going on with more girls moving into roles that 20-30 years ago they would not have been considered for,” he said.
WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, deputy principal Travis Hooper said the number of female students at Cunderdin had doubled since 2015. “I think over time the number of women in the agricultural industry will hopefully be more reflective of what’s happening in the ag colleges,” he said.
“I think as long as there are girls who want jobs in the agricultural industry and see it as a viable option, I’d love to see the numbers increasing.
“In the meantime we have a lot of girls that come here and end up being very successful in the agricultural industry so that’s our end game.”