In February, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) ran its first Food & Fibre Discovery Challenge at the Southern Field Days in Waimumu. The challenge is an interactive way of highlighting the many opportunities and careers within the primary sector to school leavers.
Olivia Ross, B+LNZ’s Extension Manager for the Southern South Island, led the Food & Fibre Discovery Challenge. She says, “It’s important for the next generation to know that there is more to the sector than just milking cows and moving sheep and that there is place for everyone to meet their skills and passions.”
In an Amazing Race style format, the challenge had students looking around the Southern Field Day for signs with different career labels. These careers included anything from an Agri-Manager to a Quarry Operator. Participants then filled out an answer sheet discovering the careers and information about the sector. Each completed form went into the draw to win a share of $1000 of prizes. Winners will be announced this week.
Over 42 businesses took part as either a career stop or sector/training activities. These businesses were shown to be a pitstop, detour, U-turn, speedbump or roadblock as part of the challenge. Some of these businesses included event sponsors Westpac NZ, Advance Agriculture, FMG, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Country & Co Reality, Mainland Minerals Southern, DairyNZ, Great South, and the Southern Institute of Technology.
Over 100 teams entered with over 350 students participating in the Food & Fibre Challenge. Schools came from all parts of the South Island as far as McRae’s Primary school in Otago through to Invercargill and Dunedin.
Olivia says, “Many schools and students already attend field days, so the challenge provided them with more structure to the day and enabled them to learn about primary sector career opportunities in a practical and engaging way.
“We had great feedback from people who said they had a lot of fun, learnt new things and were excited to win spot prizes during the day. One Year 7 and 8 teacher messaged me after and said they had a blast and that it was a superb way to get young people involved in the field days and looking ahead to their futures.
Olivia also acknowledged the crucial help provided by the businesses and sponsors involved, “A special thanks to all the businesses that got involved and for the sponsorship. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
- Country & Co Reality Ltd
- Ministry for Primary Industries
- Mainland Minerals
- Dairy NZ
- Great South
- Advance Agriculture
- Westpac NZ
- Southern Institute of Technology
Olivia says, “Also, a special thanks to the Southern South Island Farmer council and industry support from Dairy Women’s Network, Dairy NZ & Federated farmers for helping with set up and pack down which was a task on its own.”