Article by: Hari Yellina
A new hothouse has just opened on GOTAFE’s Shepparton campus for potential students considering a career in horticulture. The hothouse in Shepparton, funded by the Andrews Labor Government, will help foster a growing number of students in horticulture courses, preparing them for rewarding careers locally and across Victoria.The $217,700 hothouse, which will house roughly 40 students each year to meet the demands from the horticulture sector, was officially opened by the state government. A hydroponic fit-out, irrigation and gas heating systems, computer controls, solar and thermal screens, guttering, benches, and a fogging system operated by a smartphone are all included in the 400 square metre facility.
The funds for the new project, according to Victorian agricultural minister Mary-Anne Thomas, would assist horticultural training for specific skills in regional and specialty regions that aren’t being supplied by the present training market. “We know that horticulture production in our state is a driving force in our agriculture industry,” Ms Thomas said. “This is why GOTAFE in Shepparton is so vital in providing critical skills and training to our next generation of farmers.”
GOTAFE chief executive Travis Heeney said there was a high demand for horticulturists in Victoria at the moment, and that the course will ideally address that demand. “There is a growing demand for horticulture courses, and with this new hothouse, we will be able to provide a broad training experience that will enable students to work anywhere in the region, supporting local business,” Mr Heeney said. Gayle Tierney, the minister of training and skills, agreed with this sentiment.
Ms Tierney stated that it was critical for pupils to receive proper training before entering the industry. “We’re making sure TAFE students have all the tools they need while they’re training, including this new hothouse at GOTAFE,” she said, “so they can hit the ground running in jobs in their local communities and across Victoria.” The hothouse will be utilised as part of a Certificate III in Production Horticulture course offered at the GOTAFE site in Shepparton.