Excited secondary students across the Mid Coast region have welcomed some special visitors to their school.
Through Dairy Australia's Cows Create Careers - Farm Module project, the students at Taree High, Taree Christian College and Great Lakes College's Forster campus have learnt about dairy industry careers in a very hands-on way: for three weeks they have reared and cared for two three-week old calves.
Eight schools on the Mid North Coast on will participate in the project.
A local dairy farmer will teach the students how to care for the calves, and demonstrate skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing. An Industry Advocate will also visit the students to speak about their career in the dairy industry.
Each school is provided with dairy industry curriculum for years 7-11, at no cost. Over the three-weeks, students are required to form teams to complete industry-based assessments.
Dairy Australia's Sally Roberts said the innovative project shines a light on the diversity of professional careers within Australia's vibrant dairy industry.
"Cows Create Careers allows students to learn about the different skills required for a career in the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way," Ms Roberts said.
"However the benefits of Cows Create Careers extends beyond the classroom. The project increases awareness of the dairy industry and builds strong connections with the local community - all while showcasing the wide-range of university, vocational and professional pathways within the industry."
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 over 259 schools across Australia with 14,245 students completing the project in 2018.
"The project's passionate volunteers are vital to the ongoing success of Cows Create Careers. Last year alone 535 volunteers gave 2,675 hours of their time across 23 Australian dairying regions," Ms Roberts said.
"Volunteers represent a wide-range of professional dairy careers. They speak to the students about their experiences in the industry, they support students in 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 from local companies Maxum Animal Nutrition, Mid Coast Connect, Daviesway, Dasco, Peach Teats and Skellerup who have continued to support the project in the Mid North Coast.
Upon completion of the project, students and teachers will be recognised at an interactive presentation day at Wauchope on Monday, October 21, where there will be industry-based games and prizes awarded to the winning teams and schools.