Cotton knowledge and skills under pressure

25 November, 2003

The downturn in the cotton industry’s fortunes due to the drought over the past two seasons has caused a sharp drop in demand for enrolment in the Cotton CRC’s unique Cotton Production Course run by the University of New England.

Cotton CRC chief executive, Guy Roth, a previous coordinator of the course, said it is the only course offered in Australia at University level targeting the tertiary training needs of cotton growers and associated service industries.

“The UNE course is vital in providing industry participants with the knowledge and practical skills required to promote sustainable cotton production in Australia.

“Continuation of the course is crucial in protecting and expanding the intellectual capital of a dynamic cotton industry, and should not be undermined by temporary economic setbacks,” he said.

Current course coordinator, Dr John Stanley, said the two-year part-time certificate and graduate certificate course caters for 30 students per year, but enrolments to date suggest a significant shortfall, unless there is renewed interest prior to the ultimate cut-off date in early February.

“The course has graduated more than 130 students to date, the majority coming from agronomy, farming, consulting, Government, seed, chemical, ginning and finance backgrounds.
“While in previous years, strong demand has caused course enrolments to be capped, this year it appears there will be no limit on enrolments, hence an unprecedented opportunity for industry participants to apply,” Dr Stanley said.

Further information: Dr John Stanley (02) 6773 3758.