World-class technology gives students window into global food networks

29 January 2021

A CQUniversity-led program is helping to bring the dynamic world of global supply chain management to classrooms in a bid to motivate students to aspire to a career in agriculture' particularly beyond the farm gate.

The initiative has been made possible due to the involvement of Australian supply chain intelligence provider Escavox' with the program being launched in Victoria in time for the start of the school year.

Called RACE Gippsland – standing for Raising Aspirations in Careers and Education – the program will have an initial focus on the Victorian farming region east of Melbourne but will be available to educators Australia-wide after its roll-out.

Escavox CEO Luke Wood said inspiring the next generation of budding supply chain managers and post-harvest technologists was a key motivator to back the RACE Gippsland concept.

"We are a young company at the forefront of the ag-tech evolution that will carry agriculture into the future'" Mr Wood said.

"To be globally competitive in this space it is critical we are equipping our students of today to be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow."

Funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training' with support from several education and industry partners' RACE Gippsland has been developed to raise aspirations of primary and secondary school students.

One aspect of the project is to create learning modules using real industry technology systems to illustrate the high-tech nature of the agricultural sector.

The curriculum is designed to be "hands-on' interactive and engaging"' according to senior research officer' Dr Nicole McDonald.

She says the program remains focused on building student capacity in STEM (science' technology' engineering and mathematics)' digital technologies' agribusiness' manufacturing and food and fibre concepts.

"Agriculture is such a broad industry' and we need to showcase the many different types of skills and knowledge that are required to lead to a range of exciting careers'" Dr McDonald said.

"The vast number of careers available demand a broad set of skills and interests' from science' maths and IT' but also business' marketing' trade' logistics management and international diplomacy.

"This is certainly the case when you enter the world of supply chain operations' which is why we're incredibly excited and thankful to be collaborating with a company like Escavox' who are at the cutting-edge of delivering a system that's improving the efficiency of complex global freight networks leading to reduced food waste."