GIWA workforce leader named

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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The Grains Industry Association of WA has named Manjusha Thorpe as executive officer for its Capacity Building Project.

After a search that started last year, Dr Thorpe has been selected to drive an initiative to build and implement a comprehensive capacity-building model for the WA grains industry given current challenges in attracting and retaining sufficient, suitably trained workers across all parts of the grain-value chain.

According to GIWA, Dr Thorpe brings a skill set to the project, led by the Australian Grains Institute which is one of GIWA's seven councils.

The AGI council is chaired by CBH chief executive Andy Crane and comprises members from the farming, finance, legal, logistics, and grains research sectors.

Dr Thorpe has spent 18 years working in engineering, project management, research and consulting roles in a range of industries.

Most recently she was at Cambridge University completing her PhD on identifying the knowledge, skills and training that enable the scale-up and commercialisation of new technologies.

Between 2002 and 2010 she worked for consulting company IPA which serviced WA-based clients in the resource and agricultural processing sectors.

The project has 12 confirmed financial backers, the major ones being GRDC, CBH, and Department of Agriculture and Food WA. Other sponsors are Curtin University, Murdoch University, Rabobank, UWA, CBH Growers Advisory Council, Bunge, Emerald Grain, Muresk Institute and Summit Fertilizers.

GIWA chairman Sean Powell said the Capacity Building Project was developed because of AGI council concerns over the diminishing workforce capacity across agriculture and the WA grain industry's ability to attract and retain sufficient suitably trained workers across all parts of the value chain.

The need to increase skills in the agricultural sector was identified as one of the eight key initiatives within the WA Grains Industry Strategy 2025.

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