In 2018, AgriFutures Australia and startup.business joined forces to deliver an exciting Entrepreneurial Learning in Action education program. The course teaches school kids in rural and regional Australia to solve the problems facing agriculture using innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset and is delivered in curriculum. Thanks to the success of the pilot, AgriFutures Australia is committing to funding the program again in 2019. Applications now open.
|There are currently four jobs in agriculture for every university graduate studying an
agriculture-related degree (Pratley, 2017). The industry is attracting the next generation of
farmers by exposing secondary students to the tech and innovation that is bringing exciting
changes to this dynamic industry.
"AgriFutures Australia is committed to attracting capable young people into careers in
agriculture. Excitingly, we are seeing technology adoption and entrepreneurship in agriculture
increase. Career pathways and opportunities within the agricultural industry are also evolving,
so it is critical that high school students are aware of the possibilities within agriculture and that
we equip them with the tools and knowledge so they can make informed decisions for their
futures. As we saw from the pilot of this program the future is looking bright."
– John Harvey, Managing Director, AgriFutures Australia
It's not only business that is currently pushing the entrepreneurship agenda, academics are
saying it too: the future of work has created increased demand for the soft skills associated with
Like many industries today, agriculture is seeing massive digital disruption and comprehensive
changes to the way we think about combining innovation, technology and farming. Agrifutures
Australia wants to prepare school students for the future by sponsoring this exciting program
that takes secondary students in Year 9 and Year 10 on an immersive journey into the
entrepreneurial startup scene to help solve the problems facing agriculture in Australia.
"Young people developing entrepreneurial skills, creating new value and dealing with complex
problems and resolving them in the ways this program illustrates is the future of education and
skills. Congratulations to all involved in the development of this project/initiative. It is cutting
edge but more so it is groundbreaking!" – Dr Phil Lambert PSM, lead curriculum expert to the
OECD's Education 2030 project and adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney
Until recently, there has been no framework for the delivery of such a program in curriculum.
That was until one of Australia's top female entrepreneurs Jo Burston met University of Sydney
academic Richard Seymour and they joined forces to develop and create this innovative
evidence-based education program.
The complete program delivery package comes with a simple framework comprising six
modules, a full 2-day Professional Development training course, ongoing support and all course
materials for an in-curriculum program to be delivered over one or two terms in Stage 4 or Stage
As well as in-class course work, the program involves local business and industry though site
visits and presentations, to give students context for their learning and provide them with
opportunities to see that entrepreneurship provides not only innovative thinking, but the ability to
develop an idea and launch their own business. The course culminates in a pitch competition
when students pitch their innovative business idea to a panel of judges. Winning students are
invited to compete in a national pitch competition as part of the Brilliant Business Kids Festival
in Sydney, November 2019.
AgriFutures Australia recognises the program as meeting the following learning and
development criteria identified by Rural Research and Development Corporations Australia:
Career development - Programs for young people and emerging leaders that focus on
building personal and professional skills.
Innovation - Programs that support innovation and technology, including incubators,
start-up ventures and commercialising ideas.
Networking opportunities - Programs that support collaboration and provide opportunities to
build professional networks.
Technical / industry skills - Programs that focus on building specific technical skills or promote
connections within industry.
Schools who wish to apply for funding through AgriFutures Australia can check eligibility and
apply at https://www.agrifutures.com.au/people-leadership/agrifutures-startup-business/
Applications close Friday 8 February 2019.