Recruitment: NSW students win national pitch competition with ag career app idea

Beef Central, 31/07/2020

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The winners of the national 2020 Women in Agri-tech Pitch Competition were Alstonville High School students, from left, Annie Tolman, Zoe Fairfull and Clara Tolman.

THREE New South Wales students have won the national 2020 Women in Agri-tech Pitch Competition with an app idea designed to entice youth to consider a career in agriculture.

The three female students from Alstonville High School in NSW have won the national competition with their idea for an app called ‘Youth in Agriculture: Australia’s Future’.

The Agri-tech Pitch Competition offered small groups of female students in years 7-10 from remote, regional and rural Australia the opportunity to share in $5000 of prize money and attend an innovation bootcamp facilitated by tech incubator River City Labs.

The second placegetter in the competition was a Woodleigh School idea for floor mats that trim and clean goat and sheep hooves. A Taminmin College team with an idea for a self-cleaning water trough with sensors to detect water quality issues was third. A St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen team was fourth with a suggestion for social media network for people interested in agriculture. Fifth palce went to a Naracoorte High School entry for a farm management app called MyMob that would assist all types of farmers from graziers to horticulturalists to plan and execute tasks.

Winning app would link students to ag training opportunities

The winning app idea designed by Clara Tolman, Annie Tolman and Zoe Fairfull from grades 9 and 10 at Alstonville State School, is aimed at enticing students to consider a career in agriculture and link them to experiences and training opportunities in their region.

See the winning entry here:

Clara, Annie and Zoe used information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to identify a shortfall between the growing number of jobs within the agricultural industries and how many people are interested in filling those positions.

“The statistics show filling jobs in the industry is an increasing problem and we believe this will ultimately affect our ability, as a nation, to provide food security to the population,” Clara Tolman said.

The students came up with the idea for the Youth in Agriculture app and then prepared a video pitch for the competition.

Zoe Fairfull said the app would be a platform to help young people find a career path or profession in agriculture through the use of various guided resources that will advance their knowledge of what the industry has to offer while building upon their noted skills and interests.

“The app would feature a non-compulsory introductory quiz that will help filter appropriate articles, information and mentors for each individual.

“It would also link students to online workshops and conferences as well as work experience and job opportunities,” Annie Tolman said.

Women in Agri-tech researcher Dr Jaime Manning said the app idea was awarded first place as it was well-researched and responded to an important issue within the agricultural industries.

“The students from Alstonville High School displayed very innovative thinking with their app, they identified an important issue and have come up with a good solution for it.

“They also presented their solution in a clear and concise pitch that impressed all of the judges,” she said.

Alstonville High School also won $2000 in cash prizes to go towards school projects.

Agriculture teacher Ben Holmes says the school already has an idea what the money will go towards.

“We have decided to allocate the money to buying another steer for the Cattle Showing Team, which Clara, Annie and Zoe are all a part of.

“The students have also said they’d like to breed and show their own fancy poultry, so we are looking to develop a ‘show bird’ program as well,” he said.

Mr Holmes said the competition has been a great experience for his students.

“They not only have a much better understanding of the issues the agricultural industry is facing but also how to design a solution for an issue and how to put together a good pitch to communicate their idea.”

The winning team, and the four other teams that placed in the top five, will participate in a three-day virtual bootcamp facilitated by tech incubator River City Labs. The bootcamp will help the students take their innovation to the next level.

Women in Agri-Tech is an initiative of CQUniversity Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.




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