Meet the Finalists - Jaydee - Cows Create Careers
Jaydee Events run several school-based education programs aimed at building an understanding of the food and fibre industry within young people.
The content and activity are aimed towards getting the younger generations excited by a career in food and fibre; and driving a closer, lifelong connection to the food that feeds them.
Their programs have connected with thousands of young people, spurring many of their participants on to pursue an agricultural career.
They are an excellent example of a collaborative model between industry and education, without the “hard sell” and unethical pressure that can be found in industry-led education programs.
This tried and tested model in a values-driven organisation is doing a phenomenal job of promoting agriculture as a career for the workforce of the future.
Not limited to Gippsland, Cows Create Careers program operates in schools all around Australia.
Driven by a passion for the industry, the team at Jaydee Events has been rewarded for their efforts with a place on the finalist list for the Excellence in Workforce Capability Award, sponsored by Baw Baw Shire Council.
To address the change in needs throughout 2020 due to Covid-19, the Cows Create Careers programs have been converted to be available online, to allow continued connection throughout restrictions and lockdowns.
Ever nimble and responsive, in the space of just 3 weeks, the program was changed to fit into an online delivery model, with slight amendments to the curriculum required to make it more accessible.
With no on-farm experiences available to students for most of 2020, videos of calves have been introduced along with naming competitions, to bring a bit of farm life and activity to life online.
This, together with other continuous improvements, has made a significant contribution in keeping participants engaged.
Over the last 16 years, Cows Create Careers has nurtured a long-term collaboration with Dairy Australia – ironically, they have been involved with Dairy Australia for longer than many of its staff!
Due to long-term nature of an individual’s decision-making process (and privacy laws) data quantified outcomes around whether the program results in young people pursuing a career in agriculture are hard to track.
Programs are, however, evaluated in the first year against goals, with an ongoing feedback mechanism available to anyone.
In 2020, Cows Create Careers was accepted into the VCAA year 8/9 curriculum. The success of this lies in the Jaydee team dissecting the school curriculum and matching it with the aspects of their programs that fit.
This is then utilised to demonstrate importance of agriculture to schools, with programs continually assessed and tweaked for relevance, and collaboration with schools encouraged to also give them ownership and accountability for the success of the programs.
The Jaydee Events team is passionate about sustainability, with one of the key things driving them is the need to help provide a sustainable workforce for the agriculture industry.
Community engagement is also at the forefront, and they’re currently working on a program with an Aboriginal group in New South Wales, developing a program to help connect with Aboriginal youth via agriculture, with the potential also for some indigenous Elders to be involved.
Much of the success of the Cows Create Careers programs sits with educating the teachers –so professional development is a large focus all year round.
With around 180 schools under contract, there is always the demand for staff – and the Jaydee team look for the key element of passion first, knowing that once they’ve got that as a foundation, they can teach their team members the rest.
They invest heavily in ongoing professional development for their staff to continue to raise the quality and confidence of their presentation ability.
Passion drives passion is one of their mottos, and they’re conscious of the need to address a gap in their engagement process. They see that there is a start and an end with what they are able to teach school students, but then there is a gap at the end, one that they are working on with indu