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Students get hands-on farm experience

Emily AceHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Eaton Community College Year 7 student Kloe Burr look after calves Milky Way and Little Moo as part of the Cows Create Careers Farm Module project.
Camera IconEaton Community College Year 7 student Kloe Burr look after calves Milky Way and Little Moo as part of the Cows Create Careers Farm Module project. Credit: Emily Ace / Harvey-Waroona Reporter

Students from seven South West schools were given hands-on experience learning about dairy industry careers when they reared and cared for two three-week-old calves through Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers Farm Module.

A dairy farmer taught the students at the schools, which included WA College of Agriculture Harvey and Eaton Community College, how to care for the calves and demonstrated skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing.

Dairy Australia national coordinator Deanne Kennedy said the program introduced to the range of possible careers in the industry in both scientific and practical pathways.

Students formed teams to complete industry-based assessments throughout the program, which included the topics of safety, industry careers and the process of milk going from the farm to a store.

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A major team project involved making either a 3D model or a short film on the topic as well as writing scientific reports and thank you letters to the program’s volunteers.

Students were required to feed their calves twice a day, including on weekends, as well as check the calves’ health and clean up after the animals.

Eaton Community College Year 7 science teacher Kelli Symonds said it was a new experience for many of the students.

“It’s a good learning experience because the students actually get to see the calves themselves and get an idea of how big they are – they actually see the real process and go in to make up the milk and feed them,” Ms Symonds said.

“It’s great because some kids have never done anything like that before.”

At WA College of Agriculture Harvey, 47 year 11 students were involved out of 403 students, from years 7 to 11, in WA this semesterDairy Australia workforce development program manager Sally Roberts said the program’s volunteers of farmers and industry representatives were vital to its ongoing success with 466 volunteers in 23 dairy regions across Australia.

“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,” Ms Roberts said.

Eaton Year 7 science teacher Kelli Symonds said it was a new experience for many of the students.

“It’s a good learning experience because the students actually get to see the calves themselves and get an idea of how big they are – they actually see the real process and go in to make up the milk and feed them,” Ms Symonds said.

“It’s great because some kids have never done anything like that before.”

On June 18, students and teachers will be recognised at an interactive Presentation Day held in Busselton, with industry-based games and prizes awarded to winning teams and schools.

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