Students from Kepnock State High School have graduated from a pilot program with new skills after completing 12 weeks of hands-on learning alongside leaders from the region's agricultural sector.
The group of Year 8 students formed part of the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock pilot program, which was created in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council, Kepnock State High School and local agribusinesses industry members.
The program's aim was to provide disengaged students with new learning environments outside of the classroom while growing and fostering a local labour force for agriculture.
Deputy Mayor Cr Bill Trevor attended the graduation ceremony and said the students had taken on the IP@K program with positive attitudes and come out of the 12 weeks with plenty of new skills and friendships.
“IP@K has been a great opportunity for students to come out and experience a new learning environment,” he said.
“The students have been able to advance themselves in a number of agricultural opportunities including things like soil sampling, learning about the importance of bees to the industry and more.
“I am just so pleased the businesses have been able to extend their hand to let this happen.”
Kepnock IP@K students learn about avocadoes
Peirson Farms CEO Madeleine Marais said the Kepnock students were invited along to the local farm to see exactly how avocadoes were grown as part of IP@K.
“We have taken them through the avocado orchard and showed them the process of planting and picking,” she said.
“We have also told them about fertilisation and irrigation of the farm and basically the whole process from growing to getting the avocadoes to market.
“It has been wonderful to see the students change from the launch to now, their confidence has increased and seeing how they are working together, cooperating and learning new skills is really great.”
Principal Nicholas Howkins said the IP@K pilot was a tremendous group effort that had given local students a new outlook on life and career prospects.
“The trial has been fantastic in the sense that we have young kids with a much greater understanding of what agriculture has to offer, what work has to offer, about why they are at school and what their opportunities are after school,” he said.
“These are students who now have a bit better motivation in the classroom because they can see what could be out there for them in the future.”
Businesses involved in the IP@K pilot program were:
- Bundaberg Regional Council
- Kepnock State High School
- Peirsons Farm
- Bargara Berries
- Greensill Farming
- Suncoast Gold Macadamias
- Macadamia Farm Management
- Macadamias Australia
- Regional Drone Solutions