Local students have proved themselves best in the herd and are moo'ving on to the next stage in a nationwide dairy cow competition.
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Students from Skillset Senior College in Dubbo took out first place for the NSW central west in the Senior Division of the annual Cows Create Careers program. The students will now be eligible for the national competition, with a chance to win a $3,000 prize for their school.
The Cows Create Careers program gives students the opportunity to learn about the dairy industry in a very hands-on way, rearing and caring for three-week-old calves.
Three calves arrived at the Skillset Senior College Dubbo Campus in August and a local dairy farmer taught students how to care for them. A dairy industry advocate also visited the school to speak to students about career opportunities.
Through the course of the program students are also required to form teams to complete assessments based on the dairy industry and learn about the environment, technology and machinery used on farms
The winning teams were announced in a series of online presentation days.
John Hutchison, director at the group behind the program Jaydee Events, said it is encouraging to see students so passionate about connecting with the dairy industry.
"The presentation days are a great way to recognise and celebrate both the students' and teachers' dedication to the Cows Create Careers project," he said.
"Each year we continue to be inspired by their enthusiasm for the project and it's extremely encouraging to see the ongoing benefits of the project.
"Not only are the students learning about the diversity of skills required in the industry, but it also directly connects them to their local community."
The Cows Create Careers program began in 2004 with dairy farmers in the Strzelecki Lions Club in Victoria and nine Gippsland schools. It has now grown to 218 schools across Australia with more than 15,000 students completing the project in 2023.
"Since its inception Cows Create Careers has gained support from industry, regional development programs, dairy farmers and sponsors across Australia," Mr Hutchison said.
"[The industry insiders] speak to the students about their experiences in the industry, support students' career decision making, and have important links to education and employment sectors.
"These are invaluable connections for the students, and a lot of students maintain these links after completing the project."
In 2023, the project - which is free for schools to take part in - was funded by Dairy Australia, Dairy NSW and Mid Coast Connect.
The winning school for the top prize will be announced on Monday, November 20.
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