Toowoomba has secured its place as Queensland's agricultural training hub with the official the Rural Centre of Excellence.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman opened the $2.7 million centre at the city's TAFE Queensland campus, highlighting the vital role it will play in the State's $18.5 billion agriculture industry.
"The Palaszczuk Government is passionate about growing Queensland's agricultural sector," Ms Fentiman said.
"Almost 110 thousand Queenslanders are employed in the agriculture and food production industries and we have supported an additional 12,300 jobs in agriculture over the past year alone.
TSBE Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said the facility would transform the industry, with the ability to teach end users how to effectively adopt innovations in agricultural technology.
"The commitment for vocational education at the Rural Centre of Excellence is on an emphasis with industry leaders telling educators what today's students need to learn, and then criteria is built around that," Mr McConnel said.
"At Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, we are proud to have entered into a partnership with TAFE Queensland and will now provide an industry engagement officer, who will work with all of the TSBE members and support them with the use of the Rural Centre of Excellence, providing learning and up-skilling opportunities.
"This gives a clear indication that TAFE, government and industry will lead the Rural Centre of Excellence.
"The Rural Centre of Excellence will help deliver high-quality training to ensure the rural industry's workforce is equipped with a broad set of up-to-date skills, able to train up to an additional 400 students annually in the facility alone.
"For Toowoomba to now be the home of rural learning for the region is a great coup."
Ms Fentiman said the Centre's courses covered modern primary industry technologies such as video analysis of stock in simulated saleyards, high yield farming methods and land use and mapping by smart bots and aerial drones.
"The training centre welcomed its first group of students last week for the start of Semester 1 and has capacity for up to 300 students each year.
"Our engineering students will gain practical learning in feedlot maintenance and there is a controlled horticulture pod for our horticulture students.
"The space will also allow livestock to be brought in for specialised workshops on animal nutrition and beef breeding."
"The Centre's Vet Nursing Training Facility includes an assimilated veterinary surgery which will allow Certificates II and III in Animal Studies and Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to be offered for the first time.
"Students can enrol in animal studies programs this year and the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing will be available in 2021."
The new Centre is part of a $7 million redevelopment of the Toowoomba campus, which included a major upgrade to the nursing, healthcare and general training facilities in B Block.
The Toowoomba campus is the main training and administrative centre for the Darling Downs and plays an important role in supporting a diversifying and growing economy.