Student innovation is the key to the future

Cleve Area School agriculture students will pitch their innovative business solutions to a panel of community judges in week three next term.

This exciting event is the first major milestone in a hands-on program designed to help students see, think and do like innovators as they research, develop and pitch a business idea to solve problems facing the agriculture industry in Australia.

The 'big pitch' is the latest step in the students' project-based journey that began with studying the lives and habits of entrepreneurs and moved onto identifying needs in the local agricultural community and creating their own potential solutions.

Year 9 agriculture teacher, Annie Richter, said there was a variety of concepts to be 'pitched' next term.

Some of the stand-out ideas identified app technology to support farmers in the field, streamlining the purchase of essential resources from where they're working or connecting food producers to the wider community in an educational online forum.

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Another team responded to research that identifies an ageing farmer population by designing a personal hydraulic 'step' for tall machinery, while others discussed massage chairs in tractors to help ease the injuries and chronic pain often associated with long hours of driving agricultural machinery.

Invention ideas included automatic magnetic trailer hitches, and burr-repelling socks, as well as a drone delivery service for isolated workers.

"It's been a challenging process for our students - this hasn't been an ordinary classroom experience," Ms Richter said.

"But we are committed to real-world learning that develops our students' problem-learning skills and communication abilities. These are the skills we believe will help them succeed, at school and in the future."

Ms Richter said connecting with mentors has been key to the success of students, as has learning how to conduct valid primary research within the community.

Cleve is one of just seven schools nationwide to be accepted into the initiative which will connect young Ag-Preneurs in Years 8 and 9 with industry mentors and employers to discuss the challenges facing future farmers.