CQU experts win support to get kids excited for careers in Ag

13 October 2021

CQUniversity's Agricultural Education and Extension team have been awarded a grant worth more than half a million dollars to deliver a nationwide program that aims to attract young people to careers in the agriculture sector' while also equipping teachers' parents and industry leaders with the tools to support the exploration of their career interests.

The program named EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture will benefit from a $522'000 grant over 18 months' as part of the National Careers Institute Partnership Funding Round from the Commonwealth Department of Education' Skills and Employment and Department of Industry' Science' Energy and Resources.

The grant will allow the CQU team to deliver interactive and hands on educational programs across Australia' that immerse young people in agriculture' so that they can understand the full spectrum of careers in the industry' from production to marketing' IT to finance' and more.

Dr Amy Cosby who leads the Agricultural Education and Extension team said that the group was delighted to receive the grant and that they are looking forward to expanding their current research to work with more schools to get kids excited for agricultural careers.

"The EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture program is targeted at K-10 students in regional and rural communities across Australia'" Dr Cosby said.

"We have partnered with seven vastly different industry sectors and two teacher associations to co-develop an engaging program that will deliver career guidance for students' professional development for educators and increase engagement with industry.

"Activities have been specifically designed to embed career guidance activities within the classroom and strengthen the ability of teachers' parents' and industry professionals to support students in exploring their interests' strengths and values and how these relate to the world of agricultural work.

"The activities delivered as part of the program will be tailored to regions and focus on different commodities across Australia'" said Dr Cosby.

"Through our existing work in schools we know that children are eager to engage with ag activities in the classroom' but this isn't always translating into post-school career aspirations because many kids aren't made aware of the diverse range of career opportunities available to them in the sector.

"Our objective is to show young people that the ag sector is a major source of economic activity and employment' and that farming isn't just about tractors or cows' it's a broad and diverse industry with a need for highly skilled professional across a range of disciplines."

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the Rockhampton-based project will ensure people have access to tailored resources so they can make vital career decisions based on the best possible advice.

"The NCI's Partnership Grants program is helping the Rockhampton community to deliver a truly unique initiative that will help open up a range of career pathways' provide a timely boost to local employers and give those people with a career aspiration the confidence they need to pursue their dreams'" Ms Landry said.

The EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture is a collaboration with a wide range of industry partners including AgForce Queensland' NT Farmers Association' GippsDairy' Sugar Research Australia' Cotton Australia' Australian Prawn Farmers Association' Wine Australia and the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the Australian Science Teachers Association.

The program will roll out from early 2022 from the Northern Territory all the way down the east coast to the Tamar Valley in Tasmania.

The Morrison Government's National Careers Institute (NCI) ensures Australians have access to reliable and accurate careers information' resources' and support.

For more information' visit the National Careers Institute at dese.gov.au/nci.