Lowanna College learns a cow curriculum

Teaching: Lowanna College's Judith Stewart educates her students on the dairy industry.



‘WE got lots of milk here in the country,’ the Wiggles said in their iconic song Calling All Cows.

Lowanna College students are learning just how much milk there is in Gippsland, as they undergo the Cows Create Careers program.

Lowanna is among many schools in Gipplsand who participate in the hands-on learning experience.

In the four-week project, students get the opportunity to rear and care for two three-week old calves.

A local dairy farmer teaches students how to care for the calves and demonstrate skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing.

An industry advocate has also visited the students to speak about their career in the dairy industry.

Agriculture and horticulture teacher at Lowanna College, Judith Stewart, said she had already seen her students benefit from the program.

“The purpose of the program is to teach them how to be responsible and ethical in their treatment of animals,” she said

“One of the things that I’ve noticed in the program is they start off normal students and then their level of responsibility just lifts and lifts and lifts, I think it’s amazing.”

With two feeding times a day, students at Lowanna College have their hands full.

Students in the agriculture class are all rostered on to complete daily tasks involved with raising the calves.

“I notify them the night before so they remember that they have to feed the cows the next day, then they have to come into school at 8.30 in the morning which is before school hours,” Ms Stewart said.

“I think it’s a good thing that students realise that milk doesn’t come from the supermarket.”

Ms Stewart explained that there are many jobs available for students in agriculture and that this program offers a look into the industry.

Lowanna College Year 10 student Noah Parkinson said he enjoys looking after the calves, but he didn’t expect the calves to be so lively.

“I think it would be a career path that I could look into,” he said.

John Hutchison from Jaydee Events said the innovative project highlights the diversity of skills and professional careers within Australia’s vibrant dairy industry.

“Cows Create Careers allows students to engage with the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way-all while highlighting the range of university, vocational and professional pathways within the industry,” he said.

Each school is provided with dairy industry curriculum for Years 7-11, at no cost, and students form teams to complete industry-based assessments.

Cows Create Careers was originally established in 2004 with dairy farmers in the Strzelecki Lions Club in Victoria across nine Gippsland schools.

The project has since been supported by industry, regional development programs, dairy farmers and sponsors.

It has now grown to more than 217 schools across Australia with more than 11,680 students completing the project in 2022.

“While Cows Create Careers increases student awareness of the dairy industry, the benefits of the project extend well beyond the classroom,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“It opens opportunities for students to engage with the dairy industry, creates links to their local community, and allows them to learn new skills.”

Upon completion of the project, students and teachers will be recognised at an interactive presentation day, where there will be industry-based games and prizes awarded to the winning teams and schools.

The presentation days for the Term 3 participating schools will be held on Tuesday, October 10, Friday, October 13 and Thursday, November 2.

Learning: Students must feed the calves twice a day and care for them. Photographs: Zaida Glibanovic