A unique educational tool that will immerse students in the dynamic world of global food supply chain management is being extended to classrooms nationally, with Aussie ingenuity and technology combining to underpin the program.
The initiative, which started as a pilot in Gippsland last year, will be launched to high school teachers nationwide this week via webinars that will explain the learning module and the benefits of acquiring knowledge about the operations responsible for distributing food world-wide.
The CQUniversity Australia-designed program has been made possible due to the support of Australian supply chain intelligence provider Escavox.
The Sydney-based company has provided a customised version of its leading-edge software platform, normally reserved for some of the world's biggest food companies to monitor their supply chains.
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 concept.
"We are a young company at the forefront of the food supply chain evolution that is seeing more food businesses relying on data-informed solutions powered by IoT systems to drive their operations more efficiently and profitably into the future," Mr Wood 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."
Schools which participate in the program will have an interactive, digital platform at their fingertips, virtually simulating the program that Escavox customers use to track the movement of their food products throughout the globe.
Founded three years ago, Escavox is a fresh food intelligence business using smart-track technology to collect and report real-time data on supply chain performance.
The accuracy and immediacy of the data, generated by pocket-sized devices that capture information on temperature, time and location while embedded with food as it moves around the globe, effectively enables food suppliers to optimise management of their product during transit, the company said.
While the information will not be live or connected to actual customer data, the experience will simulate the supply of produce from their local region to all parts of the world, where the safe and successful delivery of that product depends on the decisions they take during the exercise.
CQUniversity researcher Dr Nicole McDonald said Escavox had provided a perfect platform for increasing the digital literacy of young people, enabling them to conduct searches, analyse problems, investigate options for corrective action and shortlist solutions.
"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," Dr McDonald said.
"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."
The program started last year as part of the RACE (Raising Aspirations in Careers and Education) Gippsland project, funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training with a focus on farming communities in eastern Victoria.
CQUniversity will host a webinar for teachers and others interested in the program on October 14.
To register, visit acegippsland.com/teacher-pd-workshop.
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