Robertson Public School making sustainability sustainable and preparing their students for the Green Jobs of the Future .

Students from Robertson Public School with teacher John Crompton and Costa Georgiadis at the Kreative Koalas Awards and Celebration ceremony on December 1st 2022 at Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

“Young people increasingly see the green credentials of businesses and industries as a key factor influencing their  career choices.”

Kreative Koalas, with generous support from the St Vincent de Paul Society, sees many forms of sustainability and environmental commitment in primary schools. At Robertson Public School they believe in making sustainability sustainable.

“We promote environmental protection and education at Robertson Public School in a couple of ways. We work with the Robertson Environmental Protection Society, to preserve remnant rainforest on our extensive grounds (10 acres), which has inspired us to establish a Tiny Forest.

We are part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden initiative and we have a potting shed and raised garden beds to grow vegetables that go back into our canteen. We have introduced a beehive into the school and will be adding another next year to encourage native bees into the school grounds and to further promote sustainability.

We have a Sustainable Schools grant to establish a glasshouse where we can raise vegetable and native plant seedlings. We are going to create a Farm Gate and sell vegetable seedlings, surplus produce and honey to our local community and whatever money we raise from that goes back into our sustainability practices and in particular into building our Tiny Forest.

But most importantly, we want to make sure our sustainability is sustainable and is something that we can carry forward through a number of years.” principal Gordon Parrish says.

Gordon realises that to do this requires not only the support of students but also their parents and the wider community. Parents and grandparents come into the school to work in the gardens alongside their children and to share their own knowledge. The school is part of the Share Our Space program that encourages community members to use the school grounds during holidays and after school hours, and the students connect with local businesses with a similar sustainability mindset.

Moonacres is a local café that also has an ethical farm out of town that supplies to restaurants in the area. Our Stage 3 kids will be visiting the farm four times next year to look at crop rotation in different seasons, and then we are going to try and mirror that back at school,” Gordon says.

 

While Robertson Public School currently reports to parents on activities such as recycling, 2023 will see the students take a bigger responsibility in sharing the sustainability message with the community. They plan to create instructional videos on school activities such as building native bee hotels and vegetable gardens and post these to social media.

In 2022 the sustainability message was informed by participation in Kreative Koalas where students raised awareness of all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The SDG were painted on their koala named Koala T, a reference to the number of times the word ‘quality’ appears in the goals (quality education, gender equality, reduced inequalities). Koala T will become part of the Tiny Forest once planting is completed but for now she sits in the school’s bush medicine garden.

“I think the koala will take centre stage on all our sustainability programs and be a good strong reminder of the practices we are aiming for within our school and community. The kids are the driving force behind our projects and the koala will be the symbol of that,” Gordon says.

https://youtu.be/PFQoOiLHSHM

With all the Christmas rush over and the New Year beginning, why not take some time and have a walk around the Kreative Koalas on display in the Birchgrove at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

Announcing the Action4Agriculture Grand Champion Koalas and Archies

 

The Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens in Bowral came alive with cows and koalas on December 1st as Action4Agriculture crowned the winners of  The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas.

 

Celebrating resilience and grit, the awards ceremony was a testament to teachers and students who explored ways to show leadership, inspire hope, strengthen their communities, and design a bright future despite the challenges of the pandemic years

 

Special guest Costa Georgiadis was on hand to crown the champion schools who were:

  • 2020 Grand Champion Archibull – Penrith Valley School from western Sydney

  • 2022 Grand Champion Archibull – the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education from western Sydney

  • 2020 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – St Brigid’s Primary School from Raymond Terrace

  • 2022 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – Tarrawanna Public School from Wollongong

All schools were tasked with examining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, designing, and delivering a community action project, creating a movement to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life

 

The students presented their learnings through art on either their fibreglass cow (secondary schools) or koala (primary schools).

 

Special awards presented on the day were:

  • The Carmel Mills Memorial Award for Learning with Impact – Chevalier College from the Southern Highlands (The Archibull Prize) and Scot’s All Saints College from Bathurst (Kreative Koalas)
  • The Alan Eagle Watershed Moment Award – Hill Top Public School for reporting sustainability alongside core curriculum subjects on student report cards

Action4Agriculture is grateful for the support of Corteva Agriscience, NSW Government, St Vincent de Paul, Austral Fisheries, Wingecarribee Shire Council and Southern Highland Botanic Gardens which allows The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas to be delivered into schools.

These programs empower our students to look at our world differently, explore sustainability and environmental issues that affect our planet and design local solutions to global challenges.

 

Please contact Lynne Strong for photos from the event M: 0407 740 446 IE: lynnestrong@action4ag.com.au

 

 

 

 

Emma Ayliffe says there is an urgent need for industry to take a whole of farm approach to careers in agriculture.

We are very excited to be launching our Crafting Career series which is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for the agriculture sector to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to jobs in agriculture whilst they are at school
  • ensure there are multiple touch points to agriculture along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources into agricultural career pathways and jobs
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements
  • inspire the agriculture sector to take a whole of supply chain approach to being the image we want the world to see

The series begins with an opinion piece by the 2020 Chair of the YVLT Emma Ayliffe which appeared in print and online media this week and is reprinted below

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Tony Mahar(National Farmers Federation) Lesley Leyland (Austral Fisheries)  Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach

“We are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with”

Emma Ayliffe (right) with Summit Ag director Heath McWhirter and consultants Ben, Chelsea and Sam.

Opinion

As an agronomist, farmer, business owner and Young Farming Champion sharing my career journey in schools I know agriculture is providing me with an amazing career.

 

I work in agriculture. One day I might be out in the field advising a cotton grower about how to control whitefly, another day I will be managing my business, Summit Ag Agricultural Consulting, where we have six team members. I’m also a farmer producing wool, first cross lambs and growing wheat, oats, barley and canola. As a Young Farming Champion, I share my agricultural experiences with school kids in the city and the country.

 

I am continually discovering that many students are interested and passionate about agriculture, but they don’t know the breadth and depth of opportunities.

 

Yet we hear every day about on-farm staff shortages, and the consequences of this for increasing food prices. As people involved in agriculture, we need to become far more proactive and strategic in the way we promote agriculture as a career of first choice.

 

The statistics are in our favour. Research tells us there are six jobs for every graduate from an agriculture-related degree. For those not looking for an on-farm job,  82% of those jobs are beyond the farm gate and 40% are in cities. In the next ten years there will be a 15% growth in scientific, research and information technology jobs which support the production of food and fibre. There is also expected to be a 10% increase in jobs behind the farm gate and a 9% increase in jobs that provide agricultural education and training. Agriculture really has got it all.

Research also tells us that young people going from primary to secondary schools have closed their minds to 70% of the careers that are available. We also know 46% of Australians have at least one parent who wasn’t born here.

 

Reaching the hearts and minds of the next generation of agriculturists requires us to reach the hearts and minds of their parents. This starts in our schools. Going into schools and speaking with students, as I do with my role as a Young Farming Champion, means the potential future workforce can see what a career in agriculture looks like. It gives them role models and expands their view of agriculture behind and beyond the farm gate.

 

But if we are going to have real impact promoting agriculture to the next generation, we must move beyond sharing statistics and become specific. We must be able to show future employees (and their parents) what the jobs are and where they are.

 

This means our industry bodies need to provide clarity about predicting and planning for our future workforce needs. If we are to evolve and keep pace with our changing world and respond quickly and positively to unexpected events, we must have strategies for recruiting, training and developing capability, and mobility.

 

Students need to understand that a dairy herd manager can earn $150,000 a year and work internationally. They need to know  that you don’t need the HSC or tertiary education qualifications to earn $2000 for a four-day week as a shearer. Students need to be aware of the career opportunities available – from  modifying cutting edge technology to produce automated vehicles for the cropping industry to contributing to healthy oceans through working within aquaculture.

 

Then students can go home and influence the views of their parents and their communities – our consumers.

 

We also need industry to step up and provide an attractive workplace for future employees; workplaces that embrace diversity and gender balance, workplaces that offer flexible ways of doing business and workplaces that use high-end technology.

 

We need to showcase agriculture as providing food and fibre as well as delivering on strong consumer-driven ethics around issues such as climate change and sustainability.

 

To ensure agriculture attracts the best and brightest employees of the future we need to start now. We must identify skills gaps, conduct workplace forecasting, invest in our young leaders, promote positive stories, and listen to the consumer who is often the parent of tomorrow’s agriculturist.

 

I have an extraordinary career in agriculture. I want others to know they can too.

Seen first at Grain Central