Ag inspirations was a run as a pilot program, facilitated by Worklinks, and developed and run by Worklinks, SIPP, Rural Skills Australia, DETE, Growcom and a range of industry representatives and education staff.
16 students from six schools in the Scenic Rim Region were chosen to be a part of the Ag Inspiration Pilot.
The Ag Inspirations Pilot Program was run over six days:
Day 1: Overview of the program for students, parents and teachers. Divided the students in to groups to research specific businesses they would be visiting in the coming days.
Days 2 – 5: Visited the various industries.
Day 6: Prepared a presentation on the businesses they had been responsible for and gave an overview of their perceptions of the week; then presented their work to parents, industry representatives and teachers.
Students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in learning more about their personal strengths and also the area of agriculture which interests them the most.
They were from a mixed cohort of public and private schools and academic and vocational pursuits, which added depth to the program and increased the level of interest in the various businesses and their career paths.
Students were given one-on-one time with an employer during the week so that they could discuss their own interests in agriculture and career opportunities within that specific organisation. The length of time (up to 3 hours) spent at each business meant that the students had time for an in-depth look at the workings of the business from both a practical perspective and through discussions with a range of employees and employers.
Research in to each business to be visited, followed up by presentations at the end of the week, assisted the students to stay focused and increased their knowledge of specific organisations.
Some students were offered specific opportunities with industries we visited. One student was given the opportunity to apply for a traineeship with Symbio Alliance; another was offered the chance to apply for part time work at the Brisbane markets and they would cover the cost of training him to work on a forklift.
Other businesses, such as Kalfresh, said there was always work available part time, in school holidays and after school and they stressed the opportunity to start at the bottom in the company and work up to a career over time as skills developed.
Because the students were from a range of schools and spent so much time together they developed supportive and caring relationships as a group, which flowed on to them developing their own facebook page to share their experiences and to stay in touch.