Toowoomba TAFE grows its reputation for excellence in agricultural training

Published Friday, 03 February, 2023 at 12:31 PM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government is expanding the now $8.1 million Rural Centre of Excellence into its second stage, as a part of its $100 million Equipping TAFE for our Future initiative firmly placing Toowoomba’s TAFE Queensland campus on the agricultural training map.

The project is boosting its reputation as the region’s foremost agricultural training facility, the additional $1.1 million investment will grow the centre’s ability to provide cutting-edge training to more students in the region.

Officially opening the centre’s second stage, Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said the state-of-the-art facility is helping to prepare Queensland’s workforce for the anticipated growth in the state’s $23.5 billion agriculture industry.

“The Queensland Government is providing specialised training to get more people into more jobs, and we are making sure our industries are supported by people who are trained in the latest facilities and technologies,” Minister Farmer said.

“The Rural Centre of Excellence, which was officially opened three years ago, trains students in more than 25 courses covering the latest in innovative, sustainable agriculture and horticulture practices.

“This new $1.1 million facility, which includes a specialised laboratory, will also offer a new course in Laboratory Skills – for the first time in Toowoomba.

“I know local agribusinesses are excited about their employees being trained in improved analysis of environmental samples of soil and water along with grains, seeds, and animal health.

“In 2021-22 more than 560 students were trained at the centre and enrolments are expected to continue to grow this year, especially with three of the centre’s courses available under the new Fee Free TAFE agreement with the Federal Government.

“Since the Rural Centre of Excellence opened in 2019, more than 1,800 students have passed through its doors and many have gone on to secure jobs in the farming and cattle industry, veterinary practices, and horticulture industries.

“Almost 1,200 students have studied agriculture and horticulture at the centre with the help of the State Government’s Free TAFE and Free Apprenticeships for Under 25s programs, as well as the Job Trainer scheme.”

Jobs Queensland predicts agriculture industry jobs in the Darling Downs- Maranoa region will increase by 11.5 per cent from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with a 20,000-strong workforce.

State-wide by 2024-25 it is predicted the industry workforce will grow to more than 87,000 – up 8,700 since 2020-21, and the Queensland Agriculture Industry Workforce Plan 2022-2027 has identified the four priority groups for future employment growth as grazing, horticulture, crops, and aquaculture.

“The anticipated growth is great news for students and a highly skilled workforce is great news for employers,” Minister Farmer said.

The Palaszczuk Government continues to provide good jobs, better services and a great lifestyle for the people of Queensland.

For more information about the Rural Centre of Excellence and its courses, including the fee-free TAFE courses visit


Media contact: Nicola Field – 0497 940 285