Agribusiness added to a Dunedin School Curriculum

A Dunedin school is embracing agribusiness by learning about what happens from paddock to plate.

Kavanagh College has added agribusiness to its school curriculum after it became part of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) this year.

Previously, there had been no senior New Zealand secondary school course that looked to interest and engage academic, tertiary-capable students into careers in the agribusiness sector.

Kavanagh College head of commerce Jill Armstrong said it was really exciting and the pupils had already been successful with it.

arlier in the month nine year-10 pupils took part in the Growing NZ Innovation Challenge Day hosted by Young Enterprise New Zealand.

More than 100 Dunedin pupils participated in the event held at the Otago Museum with many industry experts present.

Pupils were given a challenge within the primary industries and asked to develop and evaluate potential solutions; build a prototype solution; consider stakeholders; and persuasively present a solution.

Kavanagh pupils won two out of four challenges which consisted of innovative ways to use wool, how to monitor cattle behaviour and much more.

''These kids come up with great ideas ... they're really passionate about it,'' Mrs Armstrong said.

Pupil Rosa Garlick said before being taught about agribusiness at school she never realised how reliant the country was on the primary industry and what jobs were involved.

Having agribusiness in schools was the brainchild of St Paul's Collegiate School in Hamilton, which joined with agricultural industry partners with the aim to deliver a programme to secondary schools throughout New Zealand.

There were initially 10 trial schools involved before it was rolled out nationally.

Kavanagh College was the only Dunedin school that had agribusiness teaching on site, while fellow Dunedin schools John McGlashan College and Columba College collaborated and delivered an agribusiness course across both school campuses.

Ms Armstrong said this year they had just introduced agribusiness at NCEA level two and as a unit in the junior schools economic and science classes.

However, the programme would also be available at NCEA level three next year.

''We have also had awesome industry support where we have had speakers come in and have been able to do a lot outside the classroom.''

Kavanagh College principal Tracey O'Brien said it was great to have another variation of a subject that allowed hands-on learning in a real world context.

''Growing up in an urban family, pupils often don't get the opportunity to learn about animal welfare on farms ... this exposes them to the jobs that are on offer,'' Mr O'Brien said.