Scholarship makes agriculture dream a reality – article from Beacon Foundation Newsletter

Emma Foat couldn’t believe her luck when she was told she was the recipient of an Agriculture Scholarship from the local Artificial Breeders Association, the AB Centre.

Emma, a year 10 student at Yarram Secondary College in Gippsland Victoria, showed her enthusiasm for agriculture when the AB Centre approached the school following a Business Breakfast event.

Yarram Secondary College Assistant Principal, Russell Mitchell, said Emma was introduced to the opportunity when the AB Centre put its hand up and started the connection with the school.

“After our first business event, the AB Centre arranged an information session for all the year 10’s about the many aspects of the Agriculture sector. They asked for expressions of interest, and Emma’s name was put forward as she was very keen to learn more about agriculture,” Mr Mitchell said.

“They are offering to expose Emma to many different courses throughout the year and take her to information days and on farm events. They have already signed her up to the first course which is learning how to impregnate cows.”

Emma said the scholarship is the best opportunity she has to explore the agricultural field.

“The scholarship is a good eye opener for me as I thought I was set on the one area of agriculture, but now as I have heard the things I can do with the programme it has given me the chance to explore the many aspects,” Emma said.

“I feel that this programme could give me future job possibilities and is sending me in the right direction to get to the job I want. It will help me get out into the industry more and get to know a lot more people with similar interests as me, as well as giving me many options and the chance to explore my interests.

“I think that getting my name out there as being a young girl that wants to go into the agricultural industry is a good thing because it shows people that I am interested and want to learn everything that I can. Hopefully meet people during this experience who will give me their opinions on what they think I should do, how I should go about it and hopefully I can have my questions answered.”

The AB centre is looking at this as a trial and if successful they are planning to
offer more scholarships next year.

Before commencing the Beacon program, nearly 15% of Beacon students in Gippsland intended to leave school with only a year 10 or 12 leaving certificate, placing themselves at a significant disadvantage. Further, nearly a quarter of Gippsland students had not planned a pathway at all.

Nationally, Beacon has a proven track record in improving student pathways, increasing retention and increasing participation, halving the percentage of young people likely to go onto insecure or unclear pathways from 30% to less than 13%.

Beacon is working with schools in the Gippsland area for the first time in 2012 thanks to support from NAB, Business Working with Education Foundation, Coca Cola Foundation, Stockland, Portland House Foundation and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

According to the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, young people in Gippsland face a teenage full-time unemployment rate (15-19 year olds) of 33.8%. This is significantly higher than the Australian average of 23.3%.

As well as Yarram Secondary College, Beacon is working with students from Leongatha Secondary College, Trafalgar High School, Traralgon Secondary College, Warragul Regional College and Maffra Secondary College in Gippsland.

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