Education

Camp offers glimpse of farming careers

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May 29, 2018

George Brisbane, 15, and Callum Howden, 14, received some hands-on training at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus.

The University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus has been overrun by secondary students for the past three weeks.

This week, 20 Year 9 students from Mooroopna Secondary College will be experiencing some hands-on training while enjoying a camp on campus.

The students will be living on campus, immersing themselves in what it is like to train for a career in agriculture as a university student.

The Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, the Better Together Alliance and the University of Melbourne are jointly running the camp.

The camp offers more than a dozen workshops on many areas of modern agriculture with a heavy focus on technology.

Workshops include hydroponics, plant science, water efficiency and conservation, dairy, drones and veterinary science.

Organiser Karen Edwards said partnering with the Lighthouse Project was a vital element of bringing the ag-focused careers training together.

‘‘What we find, particularly around the Shepparton region, is that (children) are quite urbanised. Kids aren’t out on farms. And kids aren’t aware of the employment opportunities at their doorstep,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s why we partner with organisations like the Lighthouse... I love working with them. They’re passionate. They have great ideas. They want to be involved.

‘‘They’ve been my conduit into the Shepparton community. They go out and do a lot of the hard work.’’

This is the second year Lighthouse has partnered with the University of Melbourne, doubling the number of camps organised.

The Lighthouse’s Lisa McKenzie said the camp was developed in direct response to the project’s 1000 Conversations initiative in 2015, which showed a poor understanding by students, parents and teachers about jobs on offer in the agriculture and environment sectors.

For more coverage of secondary school ag-sector training at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus, see today’s Country News.

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