Queensland roadshows to get students excited about agriculture

10 August 2022

Educational roadshows will soon be rolling through Queensland communities giving students' teachers' and parents a look into the agricultural sector' as well as introducing them to some of the region's innovative farmers.

CQUniversity Australia will co-deliver two programs in the coming weeks: EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture in Mackay' Sarina' Tully and Townsville schools' and the Educating Kids about Agriculture program (Kids to Farms) to schools between Mackay and Malanda' outside Atherton.

CQUniversity Research Fellow and leader of the Agricultural Education and Extension Cluster Dr Amy Cosby said it was exciting for the team to be back out in classrooms.

"It's going to be really fun and educational plus it's a great opportunity for students and their teachers to see firsthand how science and technology are playing a crucial role in developing better agricultural outcomes'" Dr Cosby said.

"We aren't just going to the big regional cities' we are taking the roadshows to students in smaller schools so that they can get the same experiences too."

EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture is a national program targeted at students from kindergarten to Year 10 in regional and rural communities. Funded by the Australian Government's National Careers Institute' EXCITED for Agriculture is a joint initiative between CQUniversity and a range of industry partners including Sugar Research Australia (SRA).

"We have organised fun and interesting activities for students so they can experience some of the science and technology that goes into producing their food and fibre'" Dr Cosby said.

"Through our research' we have found that many students assume the main jobs in agriculture involve hands-on farming' so we want to showcase that' while being a farmer is a great career' there's actually an abundance of other opportunities as well."

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

RIASEC codes are a way to understand how an individual's personality and interests may fit into a career. During the roadshow workshops' students will find out their personalised RIASEC code and use it to explore which agricultural careers would suit them best.

"Using RIASEC codes will help students isolate specific careers in ag that will suit them and that they may have not considered before. It also helps to show that there really are careers for everyone within the agriculture sector'" Dr Cosby explained.

The roadshow will also be offering Teacher Professional Development and Career Influencer Speed Dating events at SRA's Sugar Research Farm to connect parents' teachers and local industry representatives.

Kids to Farms is in collaboration with the AgForce Schools to Industry Partnership Program and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture' Water and the Environment' which aims to increase primary school student's understanding of where and how their food and fibre is produced and the importance of agriculture to Australia's way of life and to regional communities.

CQUniversity research officer Dr Nikki Kelly is leading the delivery of the sessions which start with an interactive classroom activity before the class heads out to visit a local farm.

"We have designed a range of activities aimed to not only show students how science and technology are used in agriculture but to help them realise the exciting opportunities and careers that are available in the ag industry.

"The other important part of the Kids to Farms schedule is taking the students to a local farm to meet a farmer and learn about their operation'" Dr Kelly said.

"The connections these visits foster continue long after the roadshow leaves town."