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Success for Inaugural Western Schools’ Goat Camp

38 students of the Western Queensland ‘Rural Education and Training Program’ embraced a week of ag education and all things goats at Barcaldine Showgrounds from Sunday 24th March. Qld Goat Producers Inc (QGoat) and CHRRUP worked with staff and students of Longreach SHS and Barcaldine, Tambo, Blackall, Aramac, Winton and Richmond State Schools to deliver a hands-on program highlighting not only the goat industry, but many agricultural pathways, livestock handling skills and animal husbandry information.

Prior to the High School students’ camp, 27 children aged 4 to 12 attended the Barcaldine Showgrounds for a weekend of goat husbandry and handling, and family fun! There was positive feedback from the families who attended.

“We had a great weekend at Goat Camp! Would highly recommend it to any kids interested in animal science.”

Presenters came from far and wide to share their vast knowledge and skills. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Biosecurity staff, Elders Rural stock agents, Professor Louw Hoffman (Professor of Meat Science), AgTech 360, goat producers from varied regions, dairy goat representatives and cart goat operators were among the many experts who shared their knowledge during ‘Goat Camp’.

This is the first of what is hoped to be an annual event, with plans to expand this idea into different regions in the future.

QGoat chair, Glenda Henry, was very pleased with the response and support this camp received. “With the loss of Ag Colleges in Queensland, it is important that industry supports youth to gain experience and access to working with animals. Goats are a great introductory livestock due to their size and unique personalities. The camp has been designed to give a broad industry education. Many of the subjects taught will apply to most farmed animals,” she said.

Ms Henry said, “this initiative was an outstanding success, and the Western community should be very proud of their students. We are grateful to Barcaldine State School for going above and beyond to support us at every turn.” QGoat hopes to continue bringing this opportunity to the region.

The High School students who attended put their ‘Goat Camp’ experiences toward gaining their Certificate II in Rural Operations through the school VET program. The Rural Networking evening on Wednesday saw many producers and other industry experts meeting with the students and sharing their agriculture experiences and pathways, further exciting the students to enter the agriculture industry.

“It is encouraging to see these young people positively and enthusiastically interacting with the livestock at these camps, and of course, with the people from whom they can access a wealth of industry knowledge,” CHRRUP’s Agriculture Workforce Officer, Meg Bassingthwaighte said. CHRRUP is happy to be working with like-minded groups to reach the common goal of attracting, training and retaining a new generation to the agricultural workforce. “There are so many wonderful organisations in ag, all promoting the industry, and building capabilities within the regions,” Meg said. “When we pool our resources and knowledge, the results speak for themselves.”

Many thanks to the event’s generous sponsors; the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network, an initiative of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Innovation Hub, Education QLD, Barcaldine State School, Barcaldine State School P&C, Longreach State High School RTO, Queensland Police Service, Muyong Grazing Company and many more for generously donating time, resources and expertise.

The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and supports Queensland agribusinesses to attract, train and retain workers. QAWN is a free service available to Queensland agribusinesses regardless of commodity or organisation membership.


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