Bundaberg workforce to get a boost as construction starts on new TAFE facilities

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Lance McCallum
  • Training and Skills Minister Lance McCallum and Tom Smith MP have turned the first sod on the new $4.35 million Agriculture and Horticulture Centre and Advanced Manufacturing Skills Centre at TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus.
  • The upgraded facilities will enable training in emerging automation and augmentation technologies across agriculture and manufacturing practices to train a workforce that meets the needs of these growing industries.
  • 10 jobs will be supported during the construction phase with the upgrade expected to be ready for students to commence in Semester 2, 2024.

Construction has begun on a $3.35 million Agriculture and Horticulture Centre and $1 million Advanced Manufacturing Skills Centre at TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus

to train and upskill Queensland’s workforce in the growing agriculture and manufacturing industries.

Due to be ready for Semester 2, 2024, the Agriculture and Horticulture Centre will include upgrades to the existing scientific laboratory, allowing TAFE Queensland students to undertake testing and analysis of water and soil and experiment with specialised tissue cultures.

A new Smart Centre and mixed reality learning environment will be installed for students to undertake remote monitoring and analysis of data from the Grow Pods in the Bowen and Toowoomba campuses using real-time video feeds.

An upgraded open plan agriculture workshop will allow students to undertake activities with farming equipment such as forklifts and tractors, while a new Farmbot will be available for robotics, nutrition, soil science, biology and coding.

More than a dozen qualifications and skillsets in agriculture and horticulture related courses will be on offer at the Bundaberg campus providing a broad scope of study options and a highly skilled workforce.

The Advanced Manufacturing Skills Centre will also provide students with access to modern infrastructure such as 3D printing machines to support high-end manufacturing skills development for the region.

The centres are funded under the $100 million Equipping TAFE for our Future (ETFOF) initiative, which is building and refurbishing TAFE infrastructure to deliver training in new, emerging and growth industries.

Local family-owned company, Murchie Constructions, has been appointed as the builder for both projects.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Training and Skills Development Lance McCallum:

“Manufacturing is an industry worth $20 billion per year to the Queensland economy and is currently the third-largest employer of full-time workers – expected to grow to more than 182,000 by 2025-26.

“This new investment means our future Advanced Manufacturing workforce will receive the best training in a high-tech, supportive environment and will gain the necessary skills to take on high-value jobs – in the lab, and on the production line.

“Additionally to that, the agriculture industry is one of our priority sectors with potential for huge growth and will play an important role in diversifying Queensland’s economy and creating jobs.

“The new TAFE Queensland facilities here in Bundaberg will provide specialist training capabilities to cater for the emerging technologies in the agriculture and horticulture industry.

“We’re prioritising training in growing industries like agriculture and advanced manufacturing through the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022 – 2032 and creating the workforce Queensland needs now and into the future.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith MP:

“By 2025-26, Wide Bay is projected to experience the fastest increase in employment in Queensland, with strong growth in construction and manufacturing.

“This makes Bundaberg the perfect location for the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Centre as we ready the region to deliver a skilled future workforce, supporting industries and contributing to Queensland’s economic growth.

“Creating the blueprint for our rich agricultural and horticultural industries to tie in with a manufacturing future in the heart of Bundaberg, will drive our students and apprentices to be well-connected and ready to hit the ground running locally.

“The Miles Government’s continued investment into Bundaberg is great news for our students and industries and will keep local jobs local.”

Explainer/fast fact and or further information:

  • The Queensland Government’s $100 million Equipping TAFE for our Future program supports skills development in priority industries such as advanced manufacturing, cyber security, renewable energy, resources, agriculture and aquaculture.
  • This sod-turn is the latest in a string of TAFE infrastructure milestones – which includes the recently-opened $2.5 million Training Cyber Security Operation Centre at the Cairns campus and the $11.8 million TAFE Marine Centre of Excellence at the Coomera campus.
  • The Bundaberg Agriculture and Horticulture Centre will be the third agriculture/rural centre to be delivered following successful delivery of the Toowoomba Rural Centre of Excellence in August 2022 and the Bowen Agriculture Centre of Excellence in November 2022.

/Public Release. View in full here.