Aimee Snowden and the power of the Sydney Royal Easter Show to foster careers

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Using art as a means to connect with agriculture has been a winning formula for The Archibull Prize for many years, and now Art4Agriculture’s AgDay Careers Competition is replicating this on a smaller scale. In the Careers Competition students are tasked with creating and photographing a Lego character (or using one supplied by partner Little Brick Pastoral), identifying their strengths and then using multiple resources and 21st century enterprise skills to present a pathway to a career in agriculture.

14 year-old Hamish Maclure from Yanco Agricultural College was the 2018 winner of the middle school section of the Careers Competition and his story shows how the program’s blend of creativity, research and literacy can attract and engage all students.

Hamish lives on his family’s 5000 acres mixed grazing farm near Tarcutta in New South Wales and is heavily involved with cattle showing and junior judging. He has competed in three states across Australia this year.  He lists his favourite school subjects as maths, science and agriculture but being dyslexic means writing and literacy are not his fortes. However Hamish knows how to best use his resources and chose to research a career as a stock and station agent because “I like to travel and to meet other people and to analyse cattle and sheep.”

Stuart McVittie teaches agriculture to Hamish and his fellow Year 8 students and thought the competition would be a great idea to get kids thinking about opportunities in agriculture much earlier than they normally would, and to help them choose subjects for future school years. Stuart also involved the school’s career advisor who showed the students how to access resources to research agricultural careers.

“Writing is not Hamish’s strength and neither is using computers but he is a practical type of student, which is why he loves handling and showing cattle,” Stuart says. “Getting Hamish to write that story was an excellent task on his behalf. The Art4Agriculture Competition has increased his confidence and given him some positive feedback.”

Hamish’s mother Belinda agrees. “Hamish has done really well in the cattle showing ring but we’re so proud of this because its literacy, which is something he has really struggled with.”. Belinda also believes the competition has taught the students valuable communication and enterprise skills. “The kids had to email their entries themselves to Lynne [Strong] and had to manage that communication, which is I think is a great skill for them to learn.”  Learning and experience also comes from making mistakes and when the Yanco students neglected to manage their email communication effectively they missed out on knowing three of them had made the finals and that Hamish had won his division. They also missed out on the awards ceremony in Sydney! “Hamish has learnt a really good lesson about checking his emails,” Belinda says.

For Hamish the competition has meant stepping out of his comfort zone and crystallising thoughts on his future. “It gets us thinking about what we want to do when we leave school and makes us do things that we sometimes don’t want to do but are very important to us. For example we might not want to do the [writing] competition but if it helps us in the long term it is always a good thing.”

“We were stoked that we had a number of kids into the final seven and that Hamish won it,” Stuart says. “We’re quite proud of our kids and I’m glad we had the opportunity to be part of the Art4Agriculture program. It’s been fantastic.”

Although Hamish missed the awards ceremony in November, he and Belinda travelled to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April where Little Brick Pastoral’s Aimee Snowden made a special presentation of an iPad donated by Career Harvest.

 

 

Partnerships the key to attracting and retaining agriculture’s best and brightest

In 2019 Picture You in Agriculture (PYIA) has joined with the University of New England (UNE) to provide the Young Farming Champions (YFC) program to five undergraduate university students.

Many Young Farming Champions have undertaken their studies at UNE with alumni including research geneticist Dr Jo Newton, Local Land Service Officers Lucy Collingridge and Jasmine Whitten, animal welfare researcher Dr Danila Marini, cadet lawyer Meg Rice, agronomist Casey Onus, beef marketing executive Kirsty McCormack and sales managers Kylie Schuller and Diana George.

The Young Farming Champions program has equipped these early-career professionals with skills to share their agricultural journeys and, in doing so, enhance their career ambitions and take their place amongst the leaders of Australian agriculture.

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So why does a partnership between PYiA and tertiary institutions make such good sense?

From the student’s perspective:

  • Connects them with early career professionals and emerging leaders and opens their eyes to the plethora of jobs available in the agricultural sector,
  • Builds networking opportunities,
  • Installs and builds student confidence,
  • Provides exposure to industry partners,
  • Allows students to stand out from the crowd
  • Provides targeted holistic leadership development opportunities
  • Join a movement of like-minded people who can amplify each others voices

From the tertiary institution’s perspective:

  • Increases feelings of engagement and belonging in the university community,
  • Grows communication, collaboration and leadership skills,
  • Improves progression, retention and aspirations of promising students,
  • Showcases support for current students
  • Exposure on national and international stages as a supporter of emerging leaders

From an employer perspective:

  • Identification of the best and brightest young agricultural minds,
  • Improved attitudes and curiosity for a broad spectrum of careers in agriculture,
  • Increased ambitions for young talent to see leadership roles & pathways for development within the agriculture industry,
  • Opportunities to collaborate with research institutions, industry & young leaders striving to make positive change.

By partnering with tertiary institutions PYiA draws Young Farming Champions directly from a pool of keen agriculturists; students who have agriculture at their heart and who are willing to put their hands up to develop skills outside of their curriculum. Students accepted into the new YFC program partnership will undergo professional development to become the voice and next-generation leaders of Australian agriculture.

Watch this space for the announcement of our 2019 UNE Young Farming Champions

Careers in Agriculture – offer real world skills to solve real world problems and an opportunity to have a positive impact on the world

2019 celebrates 10 years of The Archibull Prize.  The foundation strength of the program is the rigor with which we monitor and evaluate and tweak it. Creating a culture where review and evaluation are seen as critical steps to gather evidence for agriculture to make informed decisions and allocate resources smartly for community engagement activities is at the heart of everything we do.

To celebrate ten years of highly insightful data the Picture You in Agriculture team will be sharing their lessons learnt via conference presentations, blogs, posters, infographics, animations …….. All the ways the wonderful world of communication has to offer people who live in the 21st Century

LESSONS LEARNT – ONE

OPENING YOUNG EYES TO CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE

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Opening young people’s minds to the diversity of careers in agriculture that offer an opportunity to provide  practical real world skills to solve real world problems and have a positive impact on the world is a key objective of The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions programs

Research shows the traditional source of inspiration for careers is family, friends, television celebrities and high profile sports people . Research also shows children leaving primary school have closed their minds to up to 70% of careers. Our challenge has been how to open their minds to be curious about the world of work and tap into  what motivates young people .

Research shows young people highly value careers where they can make a difference The Archibull Prize entry survey question reinforces this desire

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In their January 2018 report Drawing the Future UK charity Education and Employers explored the career aspirations of primary school children from around the world: “Early intervention can be a very cost effective, targeted way of raising children’s aspirations and broadening their horizons,” the report says. “The evidence suggests that giving children the chance to meet volunteers from the world helps them to see the meaning and relevance of the subjects they are studying at school. Embedding experiences of the real-world in learning and the school curriculum can lead to increased motivation resulting in increased educational attainment.”

The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas programs employ these strategies by assigning each school a Young Farming Champion (YFC), a young agricultural professional who is perceived as speaking from a vantage point of real authority as they earn a wage and grow a career within the industry.

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We have found the YFCs also play a key role in providing young people with role models and tackling stereotyping around gender and ethnicity, which opens their eyes to possibilities not previously considered.

We have also learnt that offering a careers competition, in conjunction with The Archibull Prize, is a positive way to extend our reach and engage students not directly involved with the program. Our annual National AgDay Careers Competition asks students to identify their strengths and interests, choose a career in agriculture and research the educational pathway to that career. In 2018 over 30 entries were received for the competition from primary and secondary schools in urban, rural and distance education environments, and 22 unique careers were identified.

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Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan is an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture.

Sam mentored students at Picnic Point High School in 2018 with The Archibull Prize and teacher Lisa Gourlay was particularly impressed.

“Sam arrived with three suitcases full of her own clothes that were made from 100% wool including shoes and jackets. She came with loom and finger knitting and pom poms. She came with a ball of energy and was so genuinely passionate about sharing her career and this project. She really was an inspiration.

When we looked at what jobs were available in the sheep industry we were very narrow minded thinking of the farm and the sheep. Then we meet Sam who is beautiful and young, from Blacktown, who is now working across rural Australia and internationally.”  Lisa says.

The Archibull Prize use of entry and exit surveys of students and teachers allow us to monitor the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the students they are building relationships with.

Within these surveys word clouds are used to collate responses. The following word clouds illustrate the change in agricultural career definition from the beginning to the end of the program.

Identifying the issue 

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The Archibull Prize entry surveys show students struggle to name a career in agriculture and only identify farming related activities

Identifying the messenger and what success looks like 

Exit survey

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The Archibull Prize exit surveys year on year highlight the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the students 

Teachers value The Archibull Prize for its capacity to provide students with the real world skills to be ready for the jobs of the future.

Join the team of teachers and students who are part of the solution. Expressions of interest for the 2019 Archibull Prize are now open and can be made by contacting Art4Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong at lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au

 

 

Floods, Fire and Droughts – Why would a young person enter agriculture?

It’s been a dramatic summer. Devastating floods in the northwest Queensland, fires in Tasmania and northern New South Wales and the rest of the country seemingly desiccated by drought. So why would a young person want to enter life on the land? Continuing our drought series, today we talk to Young Farming Champions James Kanaley and Martin Murray, who are both agronomists with aspirations of one day owning their own farm.

James is a consulting agronomist working with AGnVET services in Griffith with clients across southern NSW and the Riverina in a range of cropping systems. His “part-time” job is on his family’s mixed farming operation at Junee where dryland crops grow alongside merino sheep.

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Martin is based at Armatree and James’ family farm is at Junee

Martin is an agronomist for Amps Commercial based in the tiny village of Armatree in central NSW where winter cropping, including wheat and barley, generally dominates. Since his posting here last year there has barely been a crop grown. Though there have been neither floods nor fires around Armatree the country has been in drought for several years.

“It’s testing them,” Martin says of his clients. “It’s the worst one they ever experienced, the lowest rainfall they’ve ever had. It will end one day and so it’s about trying to manage the situation to get yourself through it so you are still here when it does break.”

Watching their clients work through the current drought both James and Martin have come to appreciate the need for good management and planning.

“Management is the key and this becomes even more prevalent and important in drier years,” James says. “Maximising the amount of crop or pasture out of every drop of rain and irrigation you receive is critical. A grower’s appetite for risk and their decision making can be the difference between getting themselves out of a tough situation or into serious debt.”

So what do agronomists do when there is little to no crop to look at?

“It’s a great time for upskilling,” Martin says. “There’s no reason to be sitting in the office twiddling your thumbs or driving around the same old bare paddocks so you might as well use your time productively and gain what skills you can while you’ve got the opportunity.”

To this end Martin has been attending workshops and conferences to increase his knowledge base.

Despite the quieter times James and Martin remain buoyant about agriculture’s future. Although they see ongoing problems, such as water usage in Murray-Darling, they have also seen high stock and land prices during this drought.

“If I had the money I’d definitely be buying in,” Martin says. “I’m confident there is a strong future in agriculture and the drought has really driven home the importance of risk management and having strategies to mitigate risk for when times like this come along.”

James’ agrees and cites new technologies and changes in farming practices as ways to move forward.

“Seeing what technology has enabled us to produce even in very low rainfall years like last year, gives me comfort,” he says. “Knowing that we can produce more off little rainfall going forward will give us confidence with the variable climate and rainfall events predicted. When it comes to attitude toward the drought you know the older farmers have weathered and endured a few, but the younger farmers bring enthusiasm to the table and that aids the ongoing evolution of agriculture in Australia.”

#YouthinAgVoices #strongertogether

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James and his family are looking forward to the rains and seeing the farm look like this again soon

Young Farming Champions Muster February 2019 1st Edition

This week our Young Farming Champions (YFC) would like to take a moment to extend our thoughts and well wishes to those farmers in Queensland currently affected by devastating widespread flooding. To our North Queensland cousins, we are thinking of you! #StrongerTogether

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Happy International Women in Science Day!

Our Young Farming Champion network is full of legendary women using science to make the world a safer, healthier, more abundant place for humans and animals to live. Today Picture You in Agriculture is celebrating them and their vital work with this video starring YFCs Lucy Collingridge, Danila Marini, Alexandrea Galea, Anika Molesworth, Jo Newton and Dione Howard. Wonderful work from wonderful women! #WomeninScience #InternationalWomeninScienceDay #WomeninSTEM

Wool YFC Bessie Thomas made headlines in the Rural Weekly this fortnight with a joyful story following her family’s journey through the last two years of drought. Bessie, her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter farm merinos in far-western NSW. She has received much kind feedback following the story and wanted to thank everyone for their ongoing support through the drought. Read the story here.

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Out of the Field

Congrats to YFC Bron Roberts who has just launched her new business venture B R Rural Business offering tailored management solutions for productive beef enterprises. Bron says, “I’m passionate about the beef industry and helping producers to be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. If you or anyone you know need a hand keeping records and want to use them to make real decision to improve your livestock productivity then I’m your girl!’ You can support Bron in her venture on Facebook here

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Youth Voices Leadership Team Mentor Leader and Local Lands Service vet Dione Howard spoke to NSW Country Hour late last month. Listen in here from 11min35sec to hear Dione outline the risks of livestock eating toxic weeds causing liver damage. Great job Dione!

Beef YFC Kirsty McCormack, who’s currently living and working in Canada, was spotted in this case study by Rural RDC.

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YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah, who run The Food Farm on the NSW Central Coast, recently joined Nationals candidate for Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson in judging the 2019 Kiama Showgirl. Well done Tim and Hannah!

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Tim will also be returning to the Sydney Royal Easter show this April. Tim was over the moon when he got the call from the RAS of NSW in 2017 inviting him to be the farmer the glamping participants get to share the campfire experience with over the 14 days of the show. He so looking forward to inspiring the lucky glampers to be as excited about the agriculture sector as he is again in 2019. Read all about it here.

Cotton YFC Martin Murray was profiled on NSW Young Farmers Facebook page this week for his role on the Young Farmer Council. Great read Martin!

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“I’m an agronomist working for a group called AMPS, we’re an independent agchem reseller with a very strong focus on on-farm research to improve grower outcomes. I work with our research team in the running of our trials and our growers to transfer our research findings into on farm results to further strengthen their businesses. “I joined NSW Farmers in 2015 as they are able to effectively represent the farmers of NSW, taking their thoughts and concerns to parliament. I also joined the Young Farmer Council so I could be proactive in representing the interests and concerns of young people in or entering agriculture. “There are two major ways we can give young farmers a hand up going into the 2019 state election. First, stamp duty relief will remove the significant disadvantage in relation to other first home buyers, because we can’t currently access the exemptions offered to young city residents purchasing homes zoned as residential. Second, we can help lift the productivity of our farm businesses through investing in our farmers’ digital, financial and risk management skills.”

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Our Youth Voices Leadership Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe is an invited speaker at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference. Em’s been invited to talk on ‘Careers in Grain’  in the student forum. You can find our more detail about the program and register to attend here.

Emma is also jetting off to Israel shortly as part of her prize for winning Runner Up in the ADAMA Agronimist of the Year awards. Safe and happy travels Emma! We’re looking forward to hearing all about it.

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Sticking with the conference theme, Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton, will be heading to Edinburgh in April where she’s had a paper accepted at the British Society of Animal Science Conference. The paper highlights the value of using data from commercial Australian dairy farms to demonstrate the benefits of herd improvement practices.

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Jo’s not the only YFC venturing to the Northern hemisphere. One of our newest YFC Alana Black will be heading to Scotland. While there she will be working for the Rural Youth Project. The Rural Youth Project aims to “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

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Given the massive contribution Alana’s to the YVLT Communication Sub-Committee we know she’s going to make a really valuable contribution in Scotland and we’re looking forward to the sharing of ideas and experiences between the Rural Youth Project and PYiA. Read more about Alana’s journey here.

Congratulations to YFC and Climate Action advocate Anika Molesworth who has been appointed to the Crawford Fund’s NSW Committee.  The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries of Australia’s engagement in international agricultural research and development.

The 2018 Narromine Showgirl and Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien will represent Narromine at the Zone 6 Final of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition on February 16 in Young. Keiley will be up against 39 other Showgirls, from which three finalists will be chosen. Read more in the Narromine News here. Good luck to Keiley, and also to YFC Jasmine Whitten who will head to Narrabri to compete in her Showgirl Zone Final on February 26th! #goodluck

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Photo: GEORGIE NEWTON PHOTOGRAPHY

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster January 2019 Edition 1

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Happy New Year from team YFC!

Another year, another 365 days of opportunity for this amazing bunch. While everyone has been enjoying their summer breaks the team keeps on achieving. Here are snippets from the last 2 weeks.

In the field

Over the last few weeks we have seen a huge number of dust storms blow through parts of Australia. While dust storm are not uncommon, the drought that continues to linger is making them more prevalent and more spectacular. A number of YFC have been caught in the middle of the dusty events with some great pictures captured here from right across New South Wales

This great video footage from Cotton YFC Ben Egan at Warren

and this from Wool YFC Bessie Thomas as Wilcannia

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and this from  grains YFC Keiley O’Brien at Narromine

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Out of the Field

The New Year is a time of change for many, with several of our YFC stepping into new positions around the country!

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Wool YFC Katherine Bain has got a promotion at Paraway Pastoral becoming a Business Analyst for Central West NSW Region. This role will see Katherine working closely with station managers analysing farm financial and production information. Congrats Katherine.

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It’s a long way from Ivanhoe, NSW to Launceston, TAS. Wool YFC Emma Turner made the move just before Christmas to join the Australian Wool Network as a Wool Admin and Buyer.

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In contrast, Eggs YFC Jasmine Whitten is heading out west to Cobar, NSW to take up a position as a Local Landcare Coordinator in January.

Jasmine also jumped on Picture You in Agriculture socials this week capturing her experiences at the Santa Gertrudis Junior Show in Warwick, QLD. It was her third year as a group leader at the show. The event aims to provide an opportunity for students aged 7-18 years to learn about all things beef from meat science, how to parade an animal, to be a junior judge!

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Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge has also been supporting the next generation. Lucy helped her home show society host 36 kids aged from 5-25 years for the Cootamundra Hereford Heifer Show.

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The two day show allowed kids to learn about breeding, growing and showing cattle, with detailed workshops on public speaking, halter making, assessing animals, artificial insemination, animal husbandry, grooming, parading and marketing.

Lucy said, ‘We had kids travel from all over NSW and even as far as SA! Due to the hot weather, a number of local studs provided cattle for the kids to use to reduce the risk of heat stress to transporting the livestock.’  

Summer heat is quite a contrast from Lucy’s worldly adventures in Canada. Lucy’s written a guest blog capturing her experiences here  

Huge accolades for YFC Tegan Nock pictured here celebrating with partner Frank Oly. Their collaboration Grassroots: A Documentary, recently won ‘Best Climate Change Documentary’ at the Life Science Film Festival in Prague.

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Grassroots was written & produced by Tegan and directed by Frank.  You can watch the doco (for free) over on the Australian Science Channel. Grab yourself a cuppa & settle in when you’ve got 20 min up your sleeves to be inspired by what a passionate group of people is able to achieve.

Watch it here

Congrats are also due to YFC Prue McCormack has had a busy few months ticking off 3 major milestones. Prue finished her Vet Science degree at CSU while 37 weeks pregnant! Prue & Shannon welcomed son Jock into the world on August 1st. Coincidentally Jock shares his birthday with horses, which is fitting given both his parents love of horses! Prue has recently commenced part time work at New England Veterinary Services while still operating her equine dentistry business

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Prue & Jock at Jock’s Christening

Last year Wool YFC Danila Marini won the Professional’s category at the LambEx Young Guns Competition. At LambEx Danila shared some of her work as a post-doc at the University of New England. She’s part of a larger team of researchers exploring how virtual fencing may help better manage livestock. Danila’s research focuses on sheep. If you missed LambEx, you now have the opportunity to watch her presentation online here. This is one you don’t want to miss

Danila impressed LambEx audiences with her presentation

Keeping with the YouTube theme, Lucy Collingridge  recently spoke to the University of New England about her time experiences at UNE. Congrats Danila and Lucy, great to see your communications skills being put to good use.

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAG

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FINALISTS ANNOUNCED IN 2018 NATIONAL #AGDAY CAREERS COMPETITION


Over 30 entries were received in our National AgDAy Careers Competition from primary and secondary schools in both rural and urban environments. We even had entries from the Charters Towers School of Distance Education and the Port Augusta School of the Air.

Students were asked to identify their interests and favourite subjects, imagine an agricultural career, research the educational pathway to that career and play with LEGO!

This year we teamed with Career Harvest and Aimee Snowden from LittleBrick Pastoral who designed 12 LEGO figurines illustrating agriculturalcareers. Students then had the choice of crafting their entries around one ofAimee’s characters or designing their own.

We were blown away with the LEGO figures returned to us! There were animal welfare officers, farm architects, florists, robotics engineers and heavy vehicle mechanics just to name a few. In all 22 unique careers were identified.

Considering the quality of the entries it was difficult to determine the seven finalists but here, in alphabetical order only, they are:

  • Frederick Herrmann from Yanco Agricultural High School who chose to be an architect to design and construct rural infrastructure
  • Hamish Maclure from Yanco Agricultural High School who described in great and exacting detail the life of a stock and station agent (which suggests he has spent more than one day at the sales!)
  • Joshua Carpenter from The Henry Lawson High School who envisaged a career as an agricultural teacher – and one who returned to his home town of Grenfell to teach
  • Molly McCreadie from Gwynneville Public School who also chose to be a farm architect
  • Paige Brown from Yanco Agricultural High School who wants to be a wool classer
  • Sienna Banks, also from Gwynneville Public School who chose an animal welfare officer.(This was a popular profession with at least three students choosing it!)
  • Tom Ramsay from Charters Towers School of Distance Education who chose to be a contract musterer.

The judges also made special mention of the entry from Eliza Friend from Frensham School Mittagong

Congratulations to all students who entered the competition and designed LEGO characters to show us the broad world of agricultural careers.

Our winners will be announced at The Archibull Prize Awards at Sydney Olympic Park on November 20th 2018 

Special shoutout to Career Harvest who have donated the iPad minis as prizes