A MULTI-MILLION-dollar Aquaculture Centre of Excellence was opened recently at Whitsunday TAFE, set to provide specialised training in fish farming, hatchery, and pond management to grow Queensland’s vibrant aquaculture industry.
The $2 million centre’s aquaculture production training facilities will focus on prawns and barramundi and includes a scientific laboratory and smart centre where students can record and maintain test results.
TAFE Queensland will also deliver training in marine technology and maintenance, aqua technology and maintenance, and associated trades including automotive, electrical, plumbing and mechanical.
These trade activities are essential in training the workers that are needed to support Queensland’s aquaculture industry.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said it was fantastic to be on site to officially open the centre in Airlie Beach.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for young people to launch their careers in aquaculture or for other students to change their careers completely,” he said.
“The Queensland Agriculture Industry Workforce Plan 2022-2027 identified four priority groups for future employment growth as grazing, horticulture, crops and aquaculture.
“It’s evidenced by a growth in industry value, with the Queensland aquaculture industry rising to a record value of $224.7 million in 2021-22 and employing close to 900 Queenslanders full-time.
“This state-of-the-art centre will keep us on track to meet our growing workforce needs and will see the industry continue to make a significant and positive contribution to regional development.
“I look forward to seeing the region continue to grow thanks to exciting and emerging industries such as aquaculture.”
The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence has enabled TAFE Queensland to launch a “Aquaculture and Agriculture Tech Skills Hub”, in partnership with the Australian Government, Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3), Regional Development Australia and Central Queensland University Australia.
This collaboration will foster a thriving sector in Queensland and offer free training in the latest technologies.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said it is highly important to provide training opportunities to strengthen growing industries like aquaculture.
“Our high-quality facilities at the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence are matched with high-quality training and TAFE Queensland will offer a variety of skill sets and qualifications, including Certificate II in Sampling and Measurement and Certificate II in Aquaculture,” Minister Farmer said.
“The Good people. Good jobs. Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 aims to create a skilled workforce ready to seize today’s jobs and embrace new opportunities.
“The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence at Whitsunday is doing just that for this exciting and fast-growing industry.”