Innovative educational roadshow gets students, teachers and parents EXCITED for agriculture and wine

13 October 2022

An innovative educational roadshow has been delivered in South Australia's wine country this week' with the aim of giving students' teachers and parents a taste of the exciting careers available in the viticulture and wine sector.

The roadshows visited the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley with events held at schools in Gawler' Clare' Blyth and Watervale.

As well as the student focused educational events' an evening networking session for parents and teachers about different careers in the grape and wine sector was also held.

The networking session brought together teachers and career influencers with innovative local growers and producers to discuss what their role in modern agriculture looks like.

EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture is a national program for students from reception to year 10 in regional and rural communities. Funded by the Australian Government's National Careers Institute' the program is a joint initiative between CQUniversity (CQU) and a range of industry partners including Wine Australia with the support of Barossa Australia and Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association.

CQU Researcher and event leader Dr Jaime Manning said the aim of roadshow is to inspire students to consider careers in agriculture.

"Our research shows that the majority of people believe the only jobs in agriculture are hands-on farming' which are great careers' but we also want to open their eyes to the range of opportunities using science' technology and creative pursuits' because there really is something for everyone in agriculture".

"We also know students rely on advice from mentors' including teachers and parents when thinking about careers. Our aim is to enhance the mentors understanding about careers in agriculture through fostering connections to local industry during a networking event to be held at Pauletts Wines in the Clare Valley."

Agriculture Teacher Lesley Squires from Clare High School said the project was a great learning opportunity for the students.

"The students really enjoyed meeting and interacting with people from the Viticulture industry. The information which they learnt during the day reinforces what they learn at school and shows the 'real world' applications" seh said.

The career guidance offered to students in the EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture project is aligned to the RIASEC model' a theory designed by psychologist John L. Holland.

RIASEC codes are a way to understand how an individual's personality and interests may fit into a career. Along with visits to local vineyards' the careers that will be discussed range from vineyard manager' biosecurity officer and winemaker through to a cellar door events manager.

"As part of our roadshows' students will complete activities that align with their codes to learn about the day-to-day work of professionals in that career'" Dr Manning said.

Wine Australia's Jo Hargreaves says they hope the events will open students' parents and teachers' eyes to the vast array of opportunities in viticulture and the wine sector more broadly.

"We want to inspire students and empower their mentors to be able to support the students in their exploration of ag careers'" they said.