THE GREENHOUSE COMMUNITY & INDUSTRY PROJECT
Colac Secondary College was recently informed of a successful grant application under the Secondary School Agriculture Fund, to a total value of $94,850.
The Greenhouse Community and Industry Connection Project is divided across two sections; to increase VET accessibility for students across the Colac Otway region in Agriculture and Horticulture studies and to embed community and industry partnerships within curriculum programmes.
Access to appropriate VET courses in the Colac Otway region is minimal and the responsibility is currently placed on individual students and families to source appropriate VET courses or apprenticeship pathways. The proposed project will create opportunity for a substantive VET pathway for students to access, in areas of high need and growth as per industry demands.
At present, our facilities and grounds do not have the required infrastructure to deliver VET Horticulture. Improving infrastructure will also enhance VCE Agriculture and Horticulture studies, as well as entice a great number of junior students to commence studies in the area. The procurement and construction of a substantial greenhouse (to the approximate value of $50,000) forms the initial part of the grant submission. The construction of such infrastructure will enable all students within the Colac Otway region to access VET Horticulture and VET Agriculture studies.
The second aspect of the grant submission refers to the establishment and maintenance of links between industry and the school environment, in addition to establishing substantive opportunity to connect students with the various agriculture and horticulture colleges. The costs associated with forming such links are significant and include a large investment in human resourcing, transport related expenses, consumable costs and required equipment (include PPE). As a government school, with a low socioeconomic demographic, these expenses are currently unattainable. The proposed industry and community links include; partnership with Colac Otway Shire (local council) in developing a community garden that utilises the established gardens in addition to the proposed greenhouse space; partnership with WestVic Dairy that has potential to see students placed in various dairy farms for a period of time; embedding workplace tours, to ensure students in each year level studying agriculture and horticulture are exposed to an industry experience; development of partnerships that allow students to tour the various agriculture and horticulture colleges and university campuses; establish partnership with Parks Victoria that is focused on sustainable land practices and cultural heritage management with Parks in Barwon Downs and the YouYangs, with an interest in practices such as cultural burns (currently practiced on a small scale by Gulidjan locally) and indigenous planting.