Strengthening School Industry Engagement through the Manufacturing (Dairy) Industry
*Speaker 1 – JOHN WILSON, Acting Principal Korumburra Secondary College*
Korumburra and South Gippsland are primarily a dairy industry area and Burra Foods is a dairy manufacturer so it made sense for us to build a partnership together which would allow us to not only support Burra Foods but to support Korumburra and also South Gippsland in the dairy industry.
This program and partnership with Burra Foods and Korumburra Secondary College really gives these students the opportunity to experience the breadth of career pathways that come from the dairy industry. It can be really practical stuff like milking cows but it can also be automotive, electrical apprenticeships within the industry, it can be logistics, part of looking after the fleet of trucks that cart the milk from place to place, it can be in the chemistry lab with science pathways or even in business administration. This program really does give kids the opportunity to appreciate the industry that actually supports their community.
*Speaker 3 – HELEN FALLS, Site Training Coordinator Burra Foods*
The catalyst for the partnership was that Burra was really passionate about engaging with the school and being part of the community and Burra Foods really wanted to share with the local school, the Korumburra Secondary College, the dairy career pathways that were available.
I think that this partnership offers young people a unique opportunity to learn about work from an early age. Young people are immersed in opportunities to learn about what work means and the difference between learning at school and learning in industry, and I think that this partnership has developed that in a very focused way, but it’s also been incidental to the relationship as it’s built.
So, the opportunities that our students have to engage with Burra Foods really opens their understanding of the different pathways that are available to them - many of them access a wide range of VET courses as a result of these, but even the students who don’t continue down a VET pathway or move into this industry do have a much broader understanding about the workforce, the skills and knowledge required to function in a workforce and the different opportunities they have for their pathways after they leave Korumburra Secondary College.
It was pretty good seeing a workplace that you haven’t seen before and getting an opinion of what we could go into, once we leave school.
So, each year we connect with up to one hundred students from the Korumburra Secondary College across all year levels - examples of this is Year Eleven to Twelve where we’ve implemented structured workplace learning programs which then go into traineesship and apprenticeship programs.
Our students are well set up, if this is something they want to continue to have deeper and more meaningful immersions into a Structured Workplace Learning situation in their senior years. For many students that might be a VET course and we’ve also had many students who after their schooling with us have taken on a full apprenticeship with Burra Foods and some of those have continued to be employed with them today.
So, my last six months of my year twelve I had no idea that I needed to do something so I thought I would try a different avenue, so I thought I’d try the milk industry. So, I thought the best way to actually try something to see if you like it before you apply is to actually go and do one day a week work placement to see what the industry’s all about, see if you like it, see where you can see yourself going in the future. I remember when the job came up I thought if I applied with Burra Foods having such a good relationship with the college it could give me a better opportunity to get a job.
The staff are really passionate about the relationship, they see it as a learning opportunity for them, and the Mandarin classes are a great example of that, where the partnership has actually become two way now, it’s become very sustainable because both stakeholders are really involved in the partnership. They’re also excited about being a mentor for students and to actually share their learning with students. We have many examples of that which has actually helped Burra employees but also the students, so it’s been a really positive relationship in that respect.
One of the things we know about effective partnerships is that they are sustainable and continue to work when there’s mutual benefit to both parties, so the fact that we’re able to offer some learning to the Burra Foods employees and Burra Foods are able to offer learning experiences for our students, it’s fantastic to see the benefits going both ways in this relationship.
Both parties are very passionate about the relationship and because of that passion it just gets more exciting year by year and therefore has great prospects for sustainability.