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    WELCOME: Longerenong College training manager Barry Ray is expecting a positive year at the college with student numbers on the rise. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

AgLife: Longerenong student uptake increases


An evolving agriculture industry and campus modernisation are among factors attributed to increasing interest in studying at Longerenong College. 

More than 60 students have selected the Wimmera college as their study option this year to pursue a diploma or certificate in farm-related courses. 

Training manager Barry Ray, who has worked at the college for more than 25 years, said the college had gone through a technological revolution in recent years with new facilities such as a DATA farm. 

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He said the gradual transition to information technology, IT, in agriculture as part of the college’s curriculum was attracting a wider breadth of students year-on-year. 

“Student uptake is significantly up on the past few years – that is really positive coming out of last year,” he said. 

“We’ve had a lot of support from State Government with some of our upgrades including our DATA farm development, our main teaching area will be upgraded this year to the tune of $2-million and later this year we will start building new accommodation to the tune of $6.5-million. 

“There’s also a really positive future for agriculture and on the back of a good harvest season this year – all those factors seem to be contributing to the strength of our reputation and the numbers we’re seeing.”

Mr Ray said course content was aiming to keep pace with an ‘ag-tech evolution’. 

“We’re trying to harness the changes that are happening with the ag-tech movement,” he said. 

“Tech development in the industry is really exciting for young people. They can see there’s a broad range of career outcomes.

“It’s not just production agriculture anymore. In ag tech you gain data and it feeds into management decisions. 

“For example, you could be using frost sensors to cut cereal crops for hay and identify exactly where the frost influence is coming from rather than waiting to see where the damage is – this is a way to feed into data to assist in those major decisions on farm.”  

Mr Ray said students were moving from across the state and interstate to study at the college. 

“These students are coming from right across Victoria up into southern New South Wales and the eastern half of South Australia as well,” he said. 

“There is also a few students from Tasmania – our spread is very wide. 

“We welcome that geographic variety because it helps the students learn from each other about their own back yards and they can provide each other with a broad knowledge of agricultural practices.” 

The entire January 27, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire January 27, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!