Students involved in the Integrated Pathways at Kepnock ([email protected]) program reap the benefits of one-on-one learning with local businesses and producers.
The inaugural program was launched in April with 10 participating students from year 8 registered to participate in one day per week of [email protected] courses on a 12-week roster.
The aim is to give disengaged young people an alternative route to education, with interactive learning with industry mentors.
Kepnock High School’s eighth grade coordinator, Danni Hibbert, said the program was halfway through and was already proving popular with those involved.
“The [email protected] pilot project has been met with great enthusiasm by participating students and industry mentors,” she said.
“The industry participants showed the students all the different aspects of farming, from agronomy to sustainability to technological advancements.
“Feedback from students involved in the pilot has been overwhelmingly positive and we have also been contacted by many students and their families who would like to be involved with [email protected] in the future.”
Danni said the program teaches knowledge, skills and confidence through hands-on learning in authentic settings with an array of industry leaders on board.
“Grade 8 students who met with agriculture industry representatives from Greensill Farming, Peirson Farms, Regional Drone Solutions, Macadamias Australia and Macadamia Farm Management,” she said.
“The final weeks of the pilot project will see students prepare healthy meals using local produce before embarking on food production in the hospitality industry.”
Benefits for [email protected] students and industry leaders
Danni said not only are the students loving their new learning environment, but the statistics are also showing positive results.
“Since the implementation of the [email protected] program, there has been a measured 90% improvement in student behavior,” she said.
“Students who didn’t know each other have now connected and said that [email protected] made them feel connected to something bigger.
“We saw great improvements in students’ self-confidence and their ability to positively engage with the participating industry.”
Danni said the [email protected] program was a community initiative and local businesses were integral to the success of the pilot project.
“We have been very touched by the support from the Bundaberg community,” she said.
“As [email protected] is an integrated program, we plan to integrate hospitality, tourism and many other industries in the future.
“Overall, [email protected] has been a rewarding, proactive and community-driven success!”
[email protected] is a joint initiative of the Bundaberg Regional Council, Kepnock State High School and industry mentors.