Thanks to the Gardiner Foundation and GippsDairy, excited students from across Gippsland are preparing to welcome some new furry friends.
Through the Cows Create Careers project, students form Leongatha Secondary College and the South Gippsland Specialist School will learn about dairy industry careers in a very hands-on way: for three weeks they will rear and care for two three-week old calves.
A local dairy farmer will teach the students how to care for the calves and demonstrate skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing. An Industry Advocate will also visit the students to speak about their career in the dairy industry.
John Hutchison, Jaydee Events director, said the innovative project highlights the diversity of skills and professional careers within Australia’s vibrant dairy industry: “Cows Create Careers allows students to engage with the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way – all while highlighting the range of university, vocational and professional pathways within the industry”, he said.
Cows Create Careers was originally established in 2004 with dairy farmers in the Strzelecki Lions Club in Victoria and nine Gippsland schools. The project has since been supported by
industry, regional development programs, dairy farmers and sponsors. It has now grown to over 217 schools across Australia with more than 11,680 students completing the project in 2022.
“While Cows Create Careers increases student awareness of the dairy industry, the benefits of the project extend well-beyond the classroom,” John said. “It opens opportunities for students to engage with the dairy industry, creates links to their local community, and allows them to learn new skills. Since the project’s inception, we have been continually encouraged by the personal growth and opportunities that have evolved from the project, for both the students and project Volunteers”.
The project’s volunteers are vital to the ongoing success of Cows Create Careers. Coming from various professional dairy careers, volunteers speak to the students about their experiences in the industry, support students in career decision making, and have important links to education and employment sectors. Last year alone 374 passionate volunteers gave 1,870 hours of their time across 23 Australian dairying regions.
Upon completion of the project, students and teachers will be recognised at an interactive presentation day, where there will be industry-based games and prizes awarded to the winning teams and schools. The presentation days for the Term 3 participating schools will be held on Tuesday 10th October 2023, Friday 13th October and Thursday 2nd November 2023.
The project would not be possible without our major supply partner, MaxCare who supply the milk powder nationally to all Cows Create Careers farmers and schools and our Primary
Sponsorship Partners – Daviesway, Dasco, Peach Teats and Stallion. Thanks also to Reid Stockfeeds who provide the calf rearer for the participating Victorian schools, Bass Coast Shire Council, South Gippsland Shire Council and East Gippsland Shire Council.