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Tackling the decline in the agriculture workforce

Media release

Leader of Curtin PICSE Gina Pearse

Curtin University has joined a national science network helping to address the growing demand for skilled professionals in Australia’s primary industries.

The Curtin Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) Activity Centre, based at Curtin’s Department of Environment and Agriculture, will build networks between the University and Western Australian high schools, promoting awareness of work and research opportunities in the agriculture and food sector.

Science Education Officer and leader of Curtin PICSE, Gina Pearse, said with agriculture undergoing rapid changes in response to environmental, biological and food challenges, new ways were needed to build a skilled, knowledgeable workforce.

“The PICSE program is vital in helping us ensure we have young, passionate graduates equipped to address these global challenges,” Ms Pearse said. 

“As part of the Curtin PICSE program, students will be exposed to cutting-edge research and will be shown the importance of science to primary industry.”

The Centre’s activities will include industry placement scholarships that enable students to work alongside researchers and a five-day camp showcasing career and research opportunities.

Ms Pearse said teachers would also have the opportunity to participate in a two-day program of professional development on Curtin’s Bentley campus, which overviews current research in the area and highlights the relevance of classroom science to primary industry. 

“Teaching resources are also produced yearly by PICSE to assist teachers to use practical, primary industry science examples in their classroom,” she said.

A new publication, Science, Taking You Places: Pathways for a Dynamic Career in Australia’s Primary Industries, profiles graduates of the PICSE program. It illustrates the career opportunities available at all levels of the primary industries supply chain, from the laboratory to the farm, in areas such as engineering, information technology, economics, marketing and environmental sciences. It can be downloaded from the national PICSE website at.

For more information on Curtin PICSE, visit http://science.curtin.edu.au/outreach/picse.cfm.

Contact:
Gina Pearse, Science Education Officer, Curtin University
Tel: 9266 7168, Email: gina.pearse@curtin.edu.au  

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email: megan.meates@curtin.edu.au