The Southern Forests SEED Program is an important part of the overall Manjimup SuperTown efforts and aims to raise the profile of agriculture in the Manjimup region as a valid career choice to attract more students into agriculture–related fields.
The project aims to raise the profile of agriculture as a valid career choice to attract more students into agriculture and related fields in the short term.
Long term it aims to improve the reputation of the Manjimup area as a progressive and innovative agricultural precinct through building a learning culture to attract people and investment into the community and retain young people.
The aims address findings that agriculture has a negative image and suffers from declining interest. Traditionally, there has not been a strong emphasis on education in agricultural industries. This project aim to change that learning culture.
They will direct decision-making throughout the project to make sure that the paths chosen are in keeping with this. Many opportunities will be explored and activities must be fluid to allow for new opportunities.
Strategies addressing key findings
To raise the profile of agriculture within the local education sector to build awareness, relationships and capacity.
This will address the ‘image’ problem for young people, parents, teachers and the community and help create a learning culture.
Manjimup Senior High and Pemberton District High Schools are supportive and very keen to work in partnership.
- Build awareness in school students and their parents, teachers and career advisers.
- Expose students to agriculture to gain experience and build capacity.
- Build relationships and networks between farming businesses and education providers to enhance training opportunities in agriculture.
- Presence at schools: teacher professional development days, guest speakers, hands-on experience.
- Promote career pathways: careers advisory network, careers days, excursions, exposure to industry professionals.
- Access to grower networks through work experience programs and industry placements for training.
Industry engagement will be the driving force!
Formalise links with universities to conduct research and development, extension and education in the Manjimup region. This will encourage the learning culture, make access to higher education easier for young people and strengthen networks between industry and research.
It will provide role models and mentors and enhance the region’s reputation as being progressive.
- Develop relationships with universities and cultivate research projects in the region; focus on students, research and grower networks.
- Aid student transition to TAFE/university.
- Invite university students to the area for study tours and industry placement; university presence at careers days and events.
- Establish scholarships for students from the region to attend university and for students at university to conduct research in the region.
- Develop easier access to farmer networks — point of contact could be Southern Forests Food Council — and encourage industry to drive research.
- Explore avenues for locally delivered/accessed tertiary study in region.
Centre for Excellence
Develop and promote the concept of a Centre for Excellence in agriculture and food science in the Manjimup region. This will address the image problem and enhance the learning culture. It needs strong partnerships and must be sustainable.
One avenue is to ncrease research and development activity in the area by:
- promoting the area as a leader in industry-driven research
- Evaluating sustainable models.
- Support local research projects and promote partnerships and findings.
- Support progressive industry grower groups: Manjimup Pasture Group, Potato Research WA, Manjimup Orchard Group, Warren Catchments Council.
- Evaluate research centre models in Australia and overseas and prepare a business case.
- Grow the project in a manner that is sustainable and will last beyond the funding period.
- Add support and enhance programs but not take on sole responsibility to organise/co-ordinate.
- Take on programs that fit with the strategy to maintain focus and ensure longevity.
- Must not become a one-hit wonder!
Tactics will include:
- Utilising key drivers in the region.
- Establishing long-term relationships.
- Empower teachers through knowledge and information to continue programs. Facilitate links with industry, allowing industry to take the lead.
- Establish long-term partnerships with key drivers to promote a commitment to agriculture in the Manjimup region.
- Encourage formation of partnerships to promote future investment in the region. Explore grant and funding avenues for future growth.
The aim is to raise awareness of agricultural education pathways and reduce entry barriers to further education and/or employment. This will combat the image problem and will assist building the learning culture.
- Promote! Promote! Promote!
- Use press and social media to get the message across and promote a positive image of agriculture.
- Increase industry awareness of information transfer, access to training and research.
- Appointment of project patron, Professor Lyn Beazley, to raise the profile of the project and the area.
- High profile speakers at local science in agriculture forum to draw publicity.
- Publicity around workshops, student achievements, case studies.
- Cross-promotion from Southern Forests Food Council activities.
- Social media and web-based resources.
- Videos to promote agriculture.