A new education program designed to showcase global supply chain management has been launched in Victoria.
Raising Aspirations in Careers and Education Gippsland, or RACE, will initially focus on the Victorian farming region east of Melbourne but will eventually be made available to educators around Australia.
The program is funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, with support from several education and industry partners, including supply chain intelligence provider Escavox and CQUniversity.
One aspect of the project is to create learning modules using real industry technology systems to illustrate the high-tech nature of the agricultural sector.
Senior research officer Dr Nicole McDonald said the curriculum was designed to be hands-on, interactive and engaging.
She said the program focused on building student capacity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), digital technologies, agribusiness, manufacturing and food and fibre concepts.
"Agriculture is such a broad industry, and we need to showcase the many difference types of skills and knowledge that are required to lead to a range of exciting careers," she said.
"The vast number of careers available demand a broad set of skills and interests, from science, maths and IT, but also business, marketing, trade, logistics management and international diplomacy.
"This is certainly the case when you enter the world of supply chain operations, which is why we're incredibly excited and thankful to be collaborating with a company like Escavox, who are at the cutting-edge of delivering a system that's improving the efficiency of complex global freight networks leading to reduced food waste."
Escavox is a fresh food intelligence business using smart-track technology to collect and report real-time data on supply chain performance.
Data is generated by pocket-sized devices that capture information on temperature, time and location while embedded with food as it moves around the globe, enabling food suppliers to optimise management of their product during transit.
Students involved in the RACE Gippsland project will have access to their own purpose-built Escavox dashboard, or 'user-interface.'
They will be able to take part in modules that simulate the supply of produce from Gippsland to all parts of the world, where the safe and successful delivery of that product depends on the decisions they take during the exercise.
"What Escavox has provided is a perfect platform for increasing the digital literacy of young people - conducting searches, analysing problems by interpreting the data, investigating options for corrective action and shortlisting solutions," Dr McDonald said.
"But beyond all of those skills it drives home the message of the critical role that technology plays in helping to feed the people on our planet.
"Partnerships like these have a massive influence that ripple out over many years.
"We hope to see the community increase their knowledge of the Australian agricultural sector and more importantly, a greater number of people taking up careers in agriculture as a result."
Escavox chief executive Luke Wood said inspiring the next generation of budding supply chain managers and post-harvest technologists was a key motivator to back the RACE Gippsland concept.
"We are a young company at the forefront of the ag-tech evolution that will carry agriculture into the future," he said.
"To be globally competitive in this space it is critical we are equipping our students of today to be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow."
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