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Looking to the future of agriculture

​Year 7 students Tamika Kelly and Liam Cannavan show Rabobank's Sue Malaponte how to use data loggers and sensors.

​In 2015, Home Hill State High School advances the opportunities for our students by becoming a pilot school for the Agribusiness Gateway School program.  In partnership with Rabobank, the Ayr Client Council, Bowen Gumlu Growers Association and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Home Hill State High School was able to secure the right to be the first school in the Burdekin to participate in this exciting and progressive opportunity.

The Gateway to Industry Schools Program is the Queensland Government’s key industry-school engagement strategy and is a component of The Department of Education, Training and Employment's state-wide industry engagement and workforce development strategy to support the long-term development of a highly skilled workforce in Queensland.

In an exciting first for the Burdekin, the Home Hill State High School year 7 cohort will participate in the “Seed, Grow & Show” project. Students will grow corn and watermelon crops at the Ayr Research Station over a 13 week period, culminating in a display of produce in the Burdekin Show.

The school’s year 7 students will visit the Ayr DPI Research Station in Term 1 to plant the crops and then again in Term 2 to harvest the crops. The Ayr DPI Research Station will look after the crops between the two visits. The students will be involved in a range of learning activities during the excursions, including the examination of food webs and the classification of organisms. Students will be sent fortnightly updates so they can watch their crops develop. It is anticipated that a greater understanding of the agricultural industry and the career opportunities available for our youth will strengthen the industry and the community.

In 2015, the school aims to embed agriculture in a broad range of the school curriculum, creating resources that can be used in subjects like Maths, English, Science and Business with an agricultural flavour to encourage students that may not have considered Agribusiness as a career to do so.

Home Hill State High School also proposes to run a “Work Inspirations” Program. The program provides opportunities for students and school communities to engage in the diverse range of careers across businesses based on primary industries. Students will gain valuable experience in the industry while still at school, providing them with the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions about training and employment upon leaving school, and at the same time raising the profile of careers in the Agribusiness sector.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of Rabobank. Rabobank have assisted with funding the year 7s to participate in the Seed, Grow & Show Program and the Work Inspirations Program. We also sincerely thank the staff at the Ayr DPI Research Station; Bianca Fullarton from the Bowen Gumlu Growers Association, who has been instrumental in setting up the program; and the Ayr Client Council members who initiated the idea and decided on Home Hill State High as the best candidate to pilot the program in the region.

From the partnerships forged through the above mentioned programs, opportunities for work experience, structured work placements and school based traineeships or cadetships with agribusiness industries at all levels become increasingly possible.

Home Hill lies at the centre of one of the most productive growing areas in Australia and the school is well placed to engage students with industry to prepare the next generation of agricultural professionals.

These exciting initiatives will encourage and educate students in this most important area critical to Australia's economy.