REPRESENTATIVES of four Hawkesbury schools gathered at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus recently to collect their Hereford steers for the UniSchools Steer Challenge.
Teams from Arndell Anglican College, Bede Polding, Colo High and Richmond TAFE are competing in this year’s challenge, which will see them feed, groom and look after their steers for the next 100 days.
Alana Wade, a Western Sydney University Animal Science student, was there on the day to help the teams collect their steers.
She participated in the UniSchools steer program over five years when she was at Colo High school, and said the program was a great motivator for her to enrol in her degree and pursue a career in agriculture.
“The challenge provides an opportunity for students to discuss and communicate with knowledgeable representatives within the industry and further develop their knowledge within not only beef production but also the agricultural industry,” she said.
“It offers students a great beginning to develop their skills and knowledge of beef cattle which can give them insight into the agricultural industry.”
Co-ordinator of the challenge and Adjunct Fellow from the University’s School of Science and Health, Stephen Blunden, said the UniSchool challenge provided a practical and theoretical introduction to the reality of beef production.
“A lot of young people think a career in agriculture is just working on a farm, but it’s much more than that,” Mr Blunden said.
“The opportunities outside the farm gate are enormous – be it sales or marketing, logistics,
advisory, consultancy – you name it, it is there. A career in Agriculture means you are joining one of the biggest growth industries in the nation.”
At the completion of the 100-day challenge, students from the participating schools will present their steers at the Hawkesbury Showground where their efforts to raise, grow and train their steer will be judged individually and as a school team.
The four Hawkesbury teams are competing against teams from ten other institutions in western Sydney.