A unique program which fosters hands-on learning in realistic settings with local mentors is helping 10 students form their own pathways through education.
Integrated Pathways @ Kepnock 2022 was officially launched last week and has been created by teachers, with support from Bundaberg Regional Council, to give students a chance to engage with industry leaders outside of the classroom.
The goal is to provide students who may be struggling in mainstream education an alternative to learning, with one day per week spent with representatives from the agricultural sector across the 12-week program.
Kepnock State High School Year 8 coordinator Danni Hibbert said IP@K was an avenue for students at risk of disengagement to gain relevant industry knowledge in the region.
“Education is big business and there are so many kids in need of food, resources, attention, hygiene, support, recognition, acceptance, acknowledgement and care,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the kids themselves do not realise this!
“Bundaberg kids face a worrying 33% third generation unemployed statistic, this means even Grandma and Grandpa have never worked.
“How can these kids understand, respect or support employment if this has never been an option?”
To help bridge the gap and provide students with more pathways to learn and form career aspirations, Ms Hibbert said local agricultural organisations and Council had offered up their time to assist with the program.
“Many Bundaberg industries have expressed a willingness to support our kids with training and resources to facilitate vocational skills, food processing and resilience,” she said.
“So many wonderful people express a desire to support kids in need but don’t know how or where to begin.
“IP@K is a vision that is both achievable and worthwhile. We are fortunate to live in a community that is prosperous and charitable.
“We have an exceptional agricultural, cultural and environmental story that is unique and precious.”
IP@K brings students and mentors together
The launch of IP@K was held last week at the Bargara Cultural Centre, with 10 student participants and local industry in attendance.
The Kepnock State High School students heard from industry leaders including Macadamias Australia and Drone Solutions about how hands-on, problem-solving learning could be beneficial in the future.
Kepnock State High School principal Nick Howkins said IP@K was about students forming relationships with industry and hearing from leaders who have forged their own career paths.
“We have groups of students in Year 7, 8 and 9 who will be going out to learn more about agriculture and what possibilities are out there,” he said.
“Students don't know what's out there and our community also don't know how good our kids can be as well, so it is all about getting together and giving our kids some mentorship with people who have life experience.
“This is just a trial and a pilot program but we would like to be able to expand this across our schools and that is going to be an awesome opportunity for our students.”