Students involved in the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K) program are reaping the benefits of one-on-one learning with local businesses and producers.
The inaugural program was launched in April with 10 student participants in Year 8 signed up to take part in one day per week of IP@K lessons across a 12-week roster.
The aim is to give disengaged youth an alternative pathway to education, featuring interactive learning with industry mentors.
Kepnock State High School Year 8 coordinator Danni Hibbert said the program was at the halfway mark and was already proving to be popular with those involved.
“The IP@K pilot has been received with great enthusiasm from participating students and industry mentors,” she said.
“Industry participants have been showing students all the different aspects involved in farming from agronomy, sustainability, and technological advancements.
“Feedback from students involved in the pilot has been extremely positive and we have also been contacted by many students and their families who would love to be involved in IP@K moving forward.”
Danni said the program was teaching knowledge, skills, and confidence through hands-on learning in authentic settings with a range of industry leaders on board.
“Year 8 students who have been meeting with agricultural industry representatives from Greensill Farming, Peirson Farms, Regional Drone Solutions, Macadamias Australia and Macadamia Farm Management,” she said.
“The final weeks of the pilot will see students preparing healthy meals using local produce before embarking on food production in the hospitality industry.”
Benefits for both IP@K students and industry leaders
Danni said not only were students loving their new learning environment, statistics were also showing positive results.
“Since implementation of the IP@K program there has been a measured 90 per cent improvement in student behaviour,” she said.
“Students who didn’t know each other have now made connection and said that IP@K has made them feel connected to something bigger.
“We have seen great improvements in the students’ self-confidence and ability to engage positively with participating industry.”
Danni said the IP@K program was a whole-of-community initiative and local businesses were an integral part of the success of the pilot.
“We have been greatly humbled by the amount of support from the Bundaberg community,” she said.
“As IP@K is an integrated program, we plan to incorporate hospitality, tourism and many other industries moving forward.
“Overall IP@K has been a rewarding, proactive and community focused success!”