Young minds have future in Vic ag sector

Young minds have future in Victorian ag sector

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NEW BLOOD WANTED: Woodleigh School agriculture and horticulture teacher Shona Janky and Rabobank Northern Victorian Client Council member and TeacherFX program organiser Monique Bryant visited Prima Fresh at Tatura.

NEW BLOOD WANTED: Woodleigh School agriculture and horticulture teacher Shona Janky and Rabobank Northern Victorian Client Council member and TeacherFX program organiser Monique Bryant visited Prima Fresh at Tatura.

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A program is educating teachers about career pathways in agribusiness for students.

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MORNINGTON Peninsula teacher Shona Janky says a tour of some Goulburn Valley farms "opened her eyes" to opportunities available for students keen on pursuing a career in agribusiness.

Ms Janky was one of a busload of 25 teachers who toured a handful of farms in the region aimed at informing educators about the tech-savvy opportunities available in the ag sector.

The Teacher Farm Experience Program, developed by Rabobank in partnership with CQUniversity Australia, is an initiative to bridge the urban-rural divide.

It was the first time the program had been held in Victoria, following a trial in Western Australia last year.

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"It helps me talk to my students about the things the could be doing, the opportunities they have and how they could go about getting a job in agribusiness," Ms Janky said.

The purpose of the tour was to encourage teachers to include agriculture in subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics and digital technology curriculum.

"One of the businesses we spoke [about] the areas they're having trouble filling was middle management roles," Ms Janky said.

"So they'll have a lot of backpackers pick up work and that fills their lower end, but they have a lot of trouble getting people that have the skills and knowledge required to manage the processes.

"For us to be able to see the technology and talk about the needs of businesses and feed that back to our students is important."

The two-day tour included an overnight farm stay and practical on-farm visits to demonstrate the technological uptake, sustainability and animal welfare practices adopted in the sector.

The second day of the program included interactive classroom sessions on how to collect and analyse agricultural data.

Rabobank Northern Victorian client council member and program organiser, Monique Bryant, said the idea of the program was about encouraging teachers to promote the employment opportunities in the sector.

"We would really like to capture some of the youngest and brightest minds into agriculture," Ms Bryant said.

"When teachers in the classroom are having discussions with their students about all the career opportunities available, we'd like them to promote a career in ag as a researcher, as a diesel mechanic, as an agronomist or in sales, it's not just just about working on the land.

"We really want to say there's lots more opportunities than just working on a farm and that's what this program is about."

A second TeacherFX program is slated for northern Victoria in 2020.

The story Young minds have future in Vic ag sector first appeared on Stock & Land.

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