Education & Training Update – September 2009

Postgraduate / Postdoctoral / Intern Update

Congratulations to Kylie Hewson for winning the DAFF Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, sponsored by AECL. Kylie received her award at a dinner at Parliament House in Canberra with her husband, Trent, Angus Crossan, Greg Parkinson and me to cheer her on.

I attended the RIRDC “Investing in Youth: The Future of Primary Industries” workshop in Canberra on September 14, organized by CRC Board Member, Margie Thompson and her staff. It was an interesting and informative series of presentations and discussions about how to encourage undergraduates to study subjects relevant to primary industries and how to keep them engaged in primary industries. A report is forthcoming but the program is essentially similar to the current PICSE program for high school students but adapted for undergraduates (although sponsors will have more direct input in the proposed new program than they currently have in the PICSE Program). A number of PICSE graduates (currently at high school, university or in the workforce) were present at the workshop and I was impressed by how much they have benefited from participating in the PICSE Program. The proposed program will involve provision of scholarships for undergraduate students to study in relevant areas, as well as extensive mentoring of these students throughout their studies and beyond. Education Committee member, Cameron Archer, was present at the workshop and gave us an update on the Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF).

Industry Training Update

Dr Peter Scott during the Postmortem DVD production

Development of training resources is continuing. Susan Gleeson (FarmGate Training), Michael Williams and I visited James Boldiston (New Media Group) to discuss the development of a range of resources.

The Poultry CRC has awarded funding under the Strategic Projects initiative for the development of training resources. These projects are all led by industry personnel. I attended a meeting in Sydney in August to discuss the chicken meat industry projects.

Heather Palmer and Angus Crossan from AECL visited an egg grading and processing operation recently, along with James Boldiston (New Media Group) and myself, to scope out the Egg Candling Training resource that AECL is producing with its grant from the Poultry CRC.

Heather Palmer (AECL), James Boldiston (NMG), Gerry Vullings (Farm Pride) and Angus Crossan (AECL)

The CRC is producing a postmortem DVD with the assistance of Dr. Peter Scott and New Media Group. The filming for this DVD was conducted recently in the postmortem room at University of Melbourne Werribee campus. Thanks to Amir Noormohammadi and others at University of Melbourne for their assistance with this process.

New Media Group is currently converting the Murrumbidgee College Health and Welfare Manuals, which have been updated by Dr. Tom Grimes, into electronic format. These and other industry training resources will be placed on a secure web site for access via a username and password.

Susan Gleeson (FarmGate Training), Heather Palmer (AECL), Angus Crossan (AECL) and I met with Michael Claessens who is being employed by Agrifood Skills Australia to develop procedures for Training Needs Analysis (TNA). Susan Gleeson will be working on that project and using some poultry industry enterprises for pilot studies. At the same meeting, we had discussions with Trish Gamper who is working for Agrifood Skills Australia on Skills Sets. Michael Williams has already done some work for the Poultry CRC to identify which occupations in the poultry industry are more suited to Skills Sets than to full qualifications (Certificate, Diploma).

Teachers’ Resource Kit

The Teachers’ Resource Kit is coming along well. A poster showing a chicken with its main internal organs, suitable for placement on classroom walls, is now being printed off, having been developed by New Media Group. We are also planning a poster showing different poultry breeds, for inclusion in the kit. Susan Gleeson is continuing to develop worksheets, powerpoint presentations etc for the kit and a sample kit will be on display at Ideas Exchange.

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