BALLARAT Grammar agriculture teacher Noni Gabb is one of 15 female teachers chosen to attend the Women in Agri-tech Education Symposium in Brisbane next year, after a nationwide search.
“I’ll be able to bring back new and emerging tech that I haven’t been exposed to and be able to teach in a lot more detail,” Ms Gabb said. “And I hope to find technologies that are relevant to all the enterprises that my students are interested in.”
The two-day symposium kicks off a long-term project to increase digital literacy in rural schools and inspire girls to enter agriculture.
Females make up 30 per cent of employees in agriculture. Just 14 per cent of females are in management roles and women represent 18 per cent of people on ag business boards.
“What I’m really looking forward to is the second phase of the program, which involves female students partnering with teachers,” Ms Gabb said. “I have quite a few female students who don’t have an ag background but want to learn more. Their enthusiasm, passion and how they question things — they are the people we want in the industry.”
Ms Gabb grew up on a sheep and cropping property at Skipton, in the Western District, and holds an agriculture degree from the University of New England. She had hoped to enter agronomy.
“I applied for multiple jobs (in agronomy) when I first left uni and actually came up against a bit of discrimination because I was a woman,” Ms Gabb said. “It was really close-minded and I was up against quite a wall.”
Ms Gabb wants to level the playing field for women in ag.
“The industry needs intelligent, passionate innovative individuals. It doesn’t matter what sex,” she said.