From the bush to the city, inside school classrooms a countless number of students have discovered their passion for agriculture, however a critical shortage of qualified agricultural teachers could impact the number of school-leavers entering the industry.
To combat this, the Royal Agricultural Society Foundation (RAS) has invested in the next generation by launching a new scholarship dedicated to agriculture graduates interested in pursing a teaching career.
Up to five scholarships of $10,000 each will be offered to NSW and ACT scholars to assist with the financial burden of post graduate study.
RAS Foundation Manager Cecilia Logan said the scholarship aims to increase the number of qualified teachers with agricultural education expertise.
"We know that there is a national teacher shortage, and within that a shortage of ag specific teachers," she said.
"Often in the past, agriculture has been handed over to another teacher who specialises in maths or science but given how broad the subject is students need someone who is passionate about what they are teaching.
"It is important for students to be exposed at a young age to the possibilities that agriculture has to offer whether that be farming, finance, food science or animal health."
The scholarship targets recent agriculture graduates who seek to transition into a teaching role, as well as those who are already in the industry and are looking for a career change.
RAS Board Member and Research Professor of Agriculture with Charles Sturt University, Professor Jim Pratley, said the financial assistance, mentorship and practicum placement opportunities created by the scholarship are a step in the right direction.
"Where we have teachers whose primary focus in education, and whose passion beyond the classroom, is for agriculture, we will be able to inspire students into agriculture careers where they will make a real difference in the sector," he said.
"It is imperative that we equip our schools with the right resources, and key to those are agriculture educated teachers."
The Master of Teaching Scholarship for Ag Graduates is currently open, with applications closing on Sunday, January 21, 2024.
Ag graduates are defined as those with a bachelor's degree in an ag-related field, including but not limited to, agricultural science, horticulture, agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural business management, rural science, agricultural production and environmental science.
For further information or to apply for the scholarship visit the RAS Foundation website.
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