Agricultural high-schools prepare farmers of tomorrow is a program which gives the right context for teenagers to develop entrepreneurship skills in agribusiness. The program is offering study visits, presentations from experts working in agriculture and agribusinesses representative., Moreover, the project includes many practical exercises. The practical side is very important because it provides a great opportunity through which the teenagers can explore other learning techniques in agriculture.
The study visits: a context for more practice
The study visits present the value chain of agriculture – production, processing, and marketing. but also present future opportunities which teenagers can access and explore. The activities carried out intend to give useful information and practical experiences to teenagers for a better understanding the functioning mechanisms in agriculture. The entire program intends to change how agricultural education is perceived by young people, giving them more examples of farms and units in order to understand entrepreneurship insights.
Usually, the students visit a farm to understand better the functioning processes, a local producer to find out more about processing, packaging and marketing, and different cooperatives and institutions. This time, the study visits of the agricultural high-schools from Târgu Mureș and Geoagiu ended up with a guided tour of the University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine from Cluj-Napoca.
The interaction and the applicability of the information – the most appreciated learning methods
For the students from Agricultural College „Traian Săvulescu” of Târgu Mureș the most attractive part was the visit at the processing unit, where they were able to see an integrated system of reception, mixing, pasteurization, packaging, and supply for dairy products. Through this experience, they understood better the functioning of a milk processing unit.
Usually, those who have families with farms or different agricultural businesses want to develop a career in this field and take over the responsibilities of their parents. So is Vali, a student at Agricultural College „Traian Săvulescu” of Târgu Mureș, who wants to take over the family business and access European funds to grow and modernize the actual farm. The visit study was for him an awesome experience from where he got inspired to do more.
On the other side, Gabi, also a student at the agricultural high-school from Târgu Mureș, is very determined to pursue Veterinary Medicine. Although she is living in the city, she spent her childhood at her grandparents, playing a lot with the household animals. When she comforted her dog by giving him an injection (guided by her professor), she knew she wanted to become a veterinary doctor.
The agricultural high-school: a safety net into the labor market
The entire experience was also appreciated by the students from the Alexandru Borza Technological College of Geoagiu. It was a great method for deepening theoretical and practical knowledge, but also for acquiring soft skills like teamwork or communication. The students gain more confidence and courage to ask questions in order to understand better how certain processes work. Through this project, the students get out of their comfort zone and are able to better compare the functioning of a big processing unit in contrast to a traditional farm. Their main advantage is the hands-on practice and this kind of experiences which put them in direct contact with the reality of the job market. The graduate students achieve professional qualifications, achieving a high level of job security, being able to start working immediately after graduation.
During the visit at University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine, the students from the Technological College of Geoagiu met Sebastian, an alumnus of the above-mentioned college. He emphasized the importance of the agricultural high-school in his education path. Sebastian has followed a high-school in the field and got used to livestock and the specificities of their growth made him more acquainted with the field, as opposed to the students who came from a different background. Participating at various Olympiads and achieving great results ensured his spot at the faculty of veterinary medicine, where he is currently is a 5th-year student.
The study visits emphasize the value chain in agriculture, the activities proposed by the Civitas Foundation being an example for the high schools involved in the program. The study visit of Traian Săvulescu Agricultural College of Târgu Mureș took place between 3rd-7th June, Alexandru Borza Technological College of Geoagiu during 11th-14th June. The next study visits of the colleges involved will take place this autumn.