Almost 300 Taranaki students take part in agri-food careers day

Posted by on 9 May 2018 | Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Two young Taranaki vets have used jaw bones and preserved cattle body parts to get kids excited about careers in veterinary science.

Tori Turner and Lucy Webster were part of a fun event involving almost 300 students from Hawera Intermediate.

It saw the entire school take part in eight hands-on modules at the Hawera Showgrounds on career opportunities in the agri-food sector.

“Students learned about the science behind artificial insemination and how drone technology is being used to muster sheep,” said Deb Kingma from NZ Young Farmers.

“In one of the modules, they even got to blind taste test six different types of meat.”

The event was funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) and delivered by NZ Young Farmers.

“It’s part of a national project to get students from 100 schools onto sheep and beef farms. In this case, we brought the farm to the kids,” Deb laughed.

“We want to get the industry on the radar of students and teachers, so they’re aware of the opportunities,” said RMPP’s Di Falconer.

The programme involved 11 classes of children between the ages of 11 and 13-years-old.

“The kids have been really engaged,” said teacher Larni Martin.

“The artificial insemination module was a hit among students. They all had a laugh and many were quite curious about reproduction.”

Brendon Kelly from Silver Fern Farms cooks meat for a blind taste test.2The module was a favourite for Year 7 student Juana Potts-Julian.

“Today was a lot of fun. I’m really keen to get job in the dairy industry,” she said.

Tori Turner and Lucy Webster told students a career as a vet can be an exciting challenge.

“It’s like a bit of a puzzle because humans can say where they’re in pain, whereas animals can’t,” said Tori, who works at the Taranaki Veterinary Centre.

“So we have to do a full examination to find out what’s going on with an animal, which can be quite difficult at times.”

He urged students to develop an interest in science if they want to be a vet.

“Studying all three sciences - chemistry, biology and physics – will help you get into Massey University where vets train,” he said.

New Zealand’s red meat sector will need to find an extra 33,000 workers by 2025 to replace people who will retire or exit the industry.

Silver Fern Farms processes, markets and exports lamb, beef and venison and employs about 7,000 people.

“We have people in our organisation who taste meat for a living. It’s not an easy task trying to identify different types of meat, as students discovered today,” said livestock agent Brendon Kelly.