The harvest months in the sugar industry are as much about planning for the future crop as they are about cutting mature sugarcane. Similarly, the final months of school are as much about making career and job choices as they are about graduation.
Farming is a cycle, and we need to think of our human capital in the sugar industry in the same way, with a focus on constant renewal.
Recently at CANEGROWERS we brainstormed and quickly filled an A4 sheet of paper with some of the occupations that contribute to getting our product, sugar, from the paddock to the packet.
Our list was long but I’m sure we missed some. We worked our way from growers and all the businesses that support farm operations, through harvesting, to the sugar mill and refinery and finally the packaging plant or export facilities.
There are jobs across science, technology, trades, finance, law and farming that need people with technical, analytical and practical skills.
The list of careers was for an information sheet for CANEGROWERS Cairns Region to take to a careers expo to share with students in years 10, 11 and 12 in the far north Queensland city.
The school year is moving to an important point for these senior students. It can be an exciting and confusing time as they need to start making decisions about subject choices, post school study or training and job prospects.
We want to inspire them to see the many and varied roles that keep the sugar industry of regional Queensland going and maybe plant the seeds of a career that contributes to our future and theirs.
There are already 9,800 direct jobs in the sugarcane farming industry in Queensland and more than 23,650 across the whole value chain.
As growers we rely on people across many occupations to continue to meet the expectations of our markets and bring export income, up to $2.5 billion a year, into our communities and our nation’s economy.
It’s very important that town and city students, and importantly their families, understand that our industry is about so much more than owning some land growing cane - it as an area of tremendous opportunities.
Demand for Australia’s quality sugar in our export markets is strong. The global sugar price is offering good returns and the future for our industry is good.
Agriculture is an industry of constant growth and change. Once each block of sugarcane is harvested, the ground is either fertilised to get the ratooning cane off to a solid start or it is prepared for a fallow period ahead of the next crop.
As they reach the final months of schooling, we’d like to invite senior students to look for their next phase of growth and opportunity within the sugar industry.
To read more about career possibilities in the sugar industry, head to the CANEGROWERS Student Resources page.