Educating the next generation of agriculture leaders requires teamwork

Educators and industry representatives are collaborating in Central Queensland to ensure students from across the state have the best opportunities to pursue careers in the rural industry.

In a unique alliance among school, industry, universities, other education providers and major agriculture businesses, students are undertaking a hands-on Certificate III in Agriculture designed specifically for local conditions.

The aim of the programme is to graduate career-ready young men and women who want to build their knowledge and establish themselves as Australian  agriculture leaders.

A key characteristic of the school-based programme is that its courses were developed by farming families and industry partners, as well as educators.

Students undertaking the Certificate III study, as a cohort, at the former CSIRO facility, Belmont Station at Etna Creek near Rockhampton. The property, currently home to a commercial cattle herd, is also a research hub for university graduate students. High school students, therefore, work closely with scientists on research projects.

Unlike other programmes, where students undertake individual traineeships and manage the variability of employer expectations, this Certificate III allows students to develop best practice skills in an industry environment, encouraging practical application and complex problem solving in real-world scenarios rather than completion of work in isolated competencies. It is based upon the three components: inquiry-based, student-centred learning; specialised agricultural experiences; and personal capacity development.

Students enrolled in 16 courses learn how to operate machinery, identify and draft livestock, control weeds, maintain equipment, implement sustainable work practices and more.

The programme, introduced in 2015, is conducted at The Rockhampton Grammar School (RGS) and it complements the school’s overall Agriculture programme, which exposes 1400 students from Prep to Year 12 to food and fibre production and technology.

Students study animal sciences, plant sciences and agri-business as well as sustainable resource management, undertaking units of study based upon production horticulture, egg and layer production, paddock to plate meat production, and technology in modern agriculture.

Boys and girls not only develop a broad understanding of agriculture as an economic force, but also practice scientific research methodologies in an agricultural context.

The School (Queensland’s largest boarding school) is located in Australia’s beef capital, Rockhampton, and in proximity to some of Australia’s most productive agricultural land. It is uniquely positioned to provide opportunities to boys and girls to become involved and excel in agriculture.

RGS is currently developing articulations and agreements with other education providers and industry members to enhance study options for students.

Article kindly provided by The Rockhampton Grammar School.

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