The tyranny of distance was no hurdle for students and teachers who eagerly took part in the Cows Create Careers program - Farm Module "Fun in the Cloud" events.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions Dairy Australia's popular program was delivered via an online hub for Term 3, 2020.
Schools from the Southern Highlands, South Coast, Far Coast and Central NSW regions took part in the program where they took part in high-energy cloud-based events.
The experience was something to celebrate for Chevalier College students who walked away with the first prize in the senior section of the competition.
Students participated simultaneously in each of their schools in pre-arranged, industry-based games in their classrooms and prizes were announced for the project's winning teams through recent online presentations.
The hub offered various curriculum options - 'Normal', 'Reduced' and 'Easy to Implement' - schools chose the option that best suited their requirements.
Each school was provided with dairy industry curriculum and ongoing support for Years 7-11, at no cost.
And while the students did not get 'hands-on' this year, Cows Create Careers remained highly engaging through fun industry-based resources.
Students took an online journey through Willbrae Farm where they were introduced to two dairy calves, 'Bright' and 'Future'.
Over five weeks, students found out how to care for the calves and watch them grow through engaging videos.
They also learnt about the environment, technology and machinery used on farms through quirky activities and competitions.
As with all Cows Create Careers resources, the online program prioritised student learning and aligns with ACARA curriculum.
Sally Roberts, Lead - People at Dairy Australia said it was encouraging to see secondary students passionate about Cows Create Careers and Australia's vibrant dairy industry.
"The aim of Cows Create Careers is to increase the students' awareness of the diversity of educational pathways and career opportunities in Australia's dairy industry. Through the project, students learn about the different skills required in the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way," Ms Roberts said.
"It is great to see enthusiastic students getting involved and learning about the industry, while making important connections with their local dairy community. The presentation day is a great way to reward and celebrate the students' and schools' dedication to the project."
One of the major sponsors of the program in the participating regions NSW regions, IMB Community Foundation kindly provided funding for the lunches enjoyed by the students after the online presentation days in 2020.
Cows Create Careers was originally established in 2004 with dairy farmers in the Strzelecki Lions Club in Victoria and nine Gippsland schools. Since 2006 the project has been supported by Dairy Australia, Regional Development Programs, dairy farmers and sponsors. It has now grown to 240 schools across Australia with 13,200 students completing the project in 2019.
Ms Roberts said that the project had received strong support from dairy farmers and advocates across Australia. Last year alone 527 volunteers gave 2635 hours of their time across 23 Australian dairying regions.
"The project's passionate volunteers are vital to the continued success of Cows Create Careers. They speak to the students about their experiences in the industry, they support student career decision making, and they have important links to education and employment sectors."
Locally, the project is funded by Dairy NSW and receives additional support across the state from local companies MaxCare, IMB Community Foundation, Vella Stockfeeds, Daviesway (Dasco, Skellerup and Peach Teats), Easy Dairy, Victorian Hoofcare Services, Agrimilk Consulting Pty Ltd and Polymaster who have continued to support the project in the South Coast, Far Coast & Central NSW regions.
For more information, visit https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/people/dairy-education-and-careers
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