The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is a research institute at the University of Tasmania specialising in research, development, extension and education to support prosperous, innovative and sustainable agriculture and food sectors in Tasmania.
TIA began in 1997 as a joint venture between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government, bringing together the human and physical resources of the Tasmanian Government with the scientific research and teaching capacity of the University of Tasmania.
2021 Scholarship winner
Charles Downie from Gretna, Tasmania, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the JM Roberts Charitable Trust and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
Through his research, Charles will investigate how the establishment of training modules and programs in agricultural businesses can help better attract an existing workforce to meet short-term labour requirements.
Charles is the general manager of the family’s enterprise, Glenelg Estate, running a mixed production system with 14,000 merino sheep, 150 Angus cattle and 20 ha vineyard across 5,500 hectares in southern and central Tasmania.
Recognising the workforce challenges currently facing Australia’s agriculture sector, Charles will focus his research on exploring global strategies to access and train labour and secure a more sustainable workforce.
“As the use of technology in the livestock industry increases, the skills required for employees to be effective are advancing. In order to secure a sustainable workforce, there needs to be greater funding for training and simplification of available technologies to ensure industry is equipped with the skills and tools to drive the industry forward,” Charles said.
“People are our most precious resource. Through my Nuffield Scholarship, I will also explore how to shift perceptions of a career in agriculture and promote diverse pathways that harness different skills and knowledge capabilities.
“As part of my research, I plan on exploring the entrepreneurial development of technology in the United States, the value and utilisation of technology in the Netherlands and other European countries, and also the sector’s technological training methods in Indonesia.”
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