College built to lead

Rhiannon ArnoldCountryman

A proposed $26.4 million upgrade will make the WA College of Agriculture – Harvey the State’s leader in agricultural education.

The relocation of the college to a farm at Wokalup goes hand-in-hand with plans for automatic milking machines and heat-detecting technology for diseased cows.

All of that plus a state-of-the-art trade training centre and a new E-lab (electronics laboratory) and the college may become the most advanced agriculture school in Australia.

WA Education Minister Liz Constable said the new college would be built on a 905-hectare farm site.

“When the college opens in 2013 it will replace the existing college in Harvey and boast the best facilities for agriculture secondary schooling in Australia, ” she said.

When the college is built it will mean students will no longer have to travel to and from the farm.

College buildings will include three teaching blocks, seven student accommodation units and two staff houses as well as additional facilities such as a new administration block, library, gymnasium and dining hall.

The recently completed metals technology trade training centre will also be expanded to include automotive, furnishing and building construction workshops and the boarding houses are said to be a huge improvement on the current dormitories because they will be able to accommodate 112 students in single residential rooms.

WA College of Agriculture principal Neale Armstrong said the new school would have the capacity to teach more than 150 students.

“They will live in a typical rural village, ” he said.

Dr Constable said with agriculture being a $7 billion industry, the Government highly valued agricultural education.

“Students will continue to learn on a fully functional farm complete with dairy, beef cattle, sheep, horticulture and viticulture operations, including a packing shed, and will study a range of nationally recognised training qualifications, ” she said.

Agricultural education director Geoff Moyle said he believed the college would move farming and agriculture into a more scientific future.

“Young people in WA have many opportunities in terms of the education now and they should see this as one of the opportunities to not only have a great career in a great industry but also have a great lifestyle, ” Dr Constable said.

The new development should also be an opportunity for students who lived out of the country to get involved in farming industries, she said.

“The South West particularly has got an opportunity in being offered a top pathway to be able to get into either the trades industry or the agricultural industry, ” Mr Armstrong said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails