Driving our future farm leaders
FOLLOWING the success of last year's pilot program, seven selected secondary schools across Australia will again have the opportunity to participate in the Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program, a partnership between AgriFutures Australia and Startup.business.
Gympie State High School was one of the successful applicants last year, 14 students undertaking the program out of a total of 152 across schools.
The program involves six modules which "mimic the entrepreneurial journey”, a two-day professional development training course for teachers, site visits to and presentations from local business and industry, and concluding with a pitch competition to a panel of judges and the chance to present at the Brilliant Business Kids Festival in Sydney in November.
"Career pathways and opportunities within the agricultural industry are... evolving, so it is critical that high school students are aware of the possibilities within agriculture and that we equip them with the tools and knowledge so they can make informed decisions for their futures,” AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said.
"Excitingly, we are seeing technology adoption and entrepreneurship in agriculture increase.”
Startup.business CEO Jo Burston said "soft skills” were increasingly becoming important in agriculture.
"It is not all about growing and harvesting, it is as much about technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and diplomatic relationships,” she said.
A summary of last year's program, produced by AgriFutures Australia, said of the 38 per cent of students who said they wanted to work in agriculture, three-quarters were unaware of the career paths available to them before the participating in the program.
A 2017 journal article by Jim Pratley, from the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture, illustrated a precipitous drop in those studying agricultural sciences at a tertiary level.
"As the data show, the supply of qualified people still does not anywhere match what is needed, even to maintain the status quo,” he wrote.
Applications for the 2019 program open today and will close on Friday, February 8.
The seven successful schools will receive $7040 to cover delivery of the program and will have to privately fund the remaining $4250 themselves.