AgroFood Education Projects

Whitsunday TAFE Unveils Aquaculture Centre of Excellence

Whitsunday TAFE's new Aquaculture Centre of Excellence opens to boost training in Queensland's aquaculture industry.

The newly opened $2 million Aquaculture Centre of Excellence at Whitsunday TAFE marks a significant investment in the future of Queensland’s burgeoning aquaculture industry. With a record value of $224.7 million in 2021-22 and a full-time workforce nearing 900, aquaculture is poised for expansion, necessitating a skilled workforce. This state-of-the-art center will offer specialized training and qualifications to support the industry’s fast-paced growth and contribute positively to regional development.

Key Takeaways:
  1. Specialized Aquaculture Training: The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence provides specialized training in fish farming, hatchery, and pond management, vital for the growth of Queensland’s aquaculture industry.
  2. Range of Qualifications: TAFE Queensland will offer a variety of skill sets and certifications at the Centre, including Certificate II in Aquaculture and Sampling and Measurement.
  3. Industry-Ready Graduates: The Centre’s facilities include prawn and barramundi production, a scientific laboratory, and an intelligence centre, preparing students to be job-ready upon graduation.
  4. Collaborative Effort: The Centre was established with various governmental and educational bodies, ensuring free training in the latest aquaculture technologies.
  5. Infrastructure Investment: Part of the $100 million Equipping TAFE for our Future program, this initiative is supported by significant government investment to modernize training facilities and support priority industries.

The official opening of the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence at Whitsunday TAFE is a significant leap forward in securing the educational foundation needed for the Queensland aquaculture industry’s continued growth and success. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner, expressed his excitement at the opportunities this facility presents for young and transitioning career professionals.

The Queensland Agriculture Industry Workforce Plan 2022-2027 identifies aquaculture as one of the four priority groups for employment growth, a prediction that is now being tangibly realized with the Centre’s inauguration. Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer emphasized aligning the Centre’s goals with the broader Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032, which focuses on creating a skilled workforce for current and future opportunities.

Meanwhile, Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert MP highlighted the benefits a skilled workforce, educated at the Centre, will bring to local employers and the regional economy. The Centre’s establishment is also a testament to the government’s commitment to investing in training infrastructure, as illustrated by the almost $300 million injected into facility upgrades across the state since 2017.

The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence is more than just a training facility; it is a hub for technological advancement through the “Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub,” which promotes the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in the industry. By coupling high-quality training with modern facilities, TAFE Queensland ensures that the industry’s workforce will be well-equipped to handle the unique challenges of sustainable aquaculture practices.

The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence at Whitsunday TAFE stands as a beacon for the future of Queensland’s aquaculture industry. It aims to deliver on the promise of fostering a skilled workforce to carry the industry into a prosperous and sustainable future, contributing to Queensland’s economy and ensuring the state remains at the forefront of the global aquaculture sector.

Image provided by the Queensland Government

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