Students raise calves to learn about dairy industry

4 October 2021|Community News, Education| Off Comments off on Students raise calves to learn about dairy industry|

ST Virgil’s College students are getting hands-on to learn about the dairy industry, welcoming two calves to the Austins Ferry campus as part of the Cows Create Careers project.

Students in years seven to 10 are rearing two three-week-old Friesian Holstein calves, which were supplied by Broadmarsh company Green Glory.

Students feed the calves twice daily and study a special dairy industry curriculum, working in teams to complete industry-based assessments.

Cows Create Careers was established in 2004, with Victorian dairy farmers working with students at nine schools in the Gippsland region.

The project has now grown to involve more than 230 schools across Australia, with 12,000 students taking part in 2020.

Local dairy farmers teach students how to care for the calves, demonstrating skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing.

An industry advocate also visits the students to speak about careers in the dairy industry.

“While Cows Create Careers increases student awareness of the dairy industry, the benefits of the project extend well beyond the classroom,” the program’s co-founder, Jaydee Events director John Hutchison 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.”

Of the 17 Tasmanian schools participating in Cows Create Careers this year, St Virgil’s College is the only one based in the state’s south.

VET Agriculture teacher Simon Orlowski said the program increased the students’ awareness of job possibilities in the dairy industry, ranging from farm hand to scientists to transport.

“The project encapsulates all areas of learning including calve rearing, marketing, health and safety, and nutrition,” he said.

“Many children don’t often think of dairy products beyond milk and cheese, but we look at how items such as chocolate, yoghurt, custard and powdered milk are made.

“Having the calves here provides opportunities for lateral thinking, giving a practical experience to meet all styles of learning.”

Upon completion of the project, the students will be recognised at an interactive presentation day, where they will be invited to participate in industry-based games and prizes are awarded to winning teams and schools.

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