Making sure more young people pursue a career in agriculture is one of the top priorities for the newly appointed principal of Tocal College, Paterson, Darren Bayley.
Mr Bayley, who was acting principal of the college since the retirement of the former head Cameron Archer in September, is keen to see the college grow and develop its links with high schools utilising school based traineeships.
Connecting high school programs with the college is one way Mr Bayley is hoping to encourage more young people to start a career in agriculture.
“Agribusiness is one of this country’s rising stars and our college can play a vital role in the agricultural industry’s growth by providing the skilled employees now in such great demand,” he said.
Move over STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) the new push is STEAM just add agriculture to the list of skills young people must now acquire for future employment opportunities.
Paying tribute to his former ‘boss’ Dr Archer who was principal of the college for 30 years, Mr Bayley said he wanted to build on Tocal’s great foundations of a highly successful skills based training college.
Mr Bayley’s interest in agriculture started young when he visited family and friend’s properties in the state’s central west near Dubbo and Narromine during his school holidays.
“Spending weeks on the farms driving tractors, quads and just simply helping out on the farms got me hooked on agriculture,” Mr Bayley said.
Mr Bayley studied agriculture in high school at Camden before undertaking a degree in Applied Science (Agriculture) Hons, at the University of Western Sydney.
Further study in agronomy at Charles Stuart University, Wagga followed before he arrived at Tocal College in 1998 as an education officer.
In 2009 he became the manager of adult education which involved delivering courses across NSW – some short courses and others external courses in agriculture.
Mr Bayley, his wife and three sons live at Woodville and he has become a great fan of the Hunter Valley and all it has to offer.
“We are so lucky to have this wonderful commercial property Tocal with its diverse industries and fabulous facilities where we can offer the best skills based training, “he said.
Mr Bayley said this week he was thrilled to see a group of 16-17 year-old school based trainees from northern NSW high schools arrived at the college for an intensive training week.
“These students in year 10/11 we would love to see them continue their training and long term pursue a career in agriculture,” he said.