Young entrepreneurs encouraged

The Cleve Area School has launched the Agrifutures program, a course aiming to develop entrepreneurial learning skills in Year 8 and 9 students this year.

The school is one of seven nationally to be accepted into the program, run by startup.business.

It is the only school in South Australia to take part in 2019, the second year of the program.

In their agriculture classes, students will develop their own business pitches for solutions to problems within the agricultural sector or their local community.

Students with outstanding pitches could be given the opportunity to travel to Sydney to compete against students from other schools.

Cleve Area School launched the program with a barbecue at Sims Farm, followed by a panel discussion with local experts from a variety of agricultural and rural backgrounds.

Students were then given the opportunity to speak to the professionals in small groups to start thinking about a potential area of study.

Startup.business education and program director Liz Jackson told attendees the school's emphasis on working with experts within the local community contributed to their successful application for the program.

Agriculture teacher Annie Richter said the program's focus on entrepreneurial thinking mirrored the direction the school planned to take in the future.

"We want to try and have entrepreneurial learning... that's where we're heading," she said.

Beyond the agricultural focus of the course, Ms Richter said it was important to teach students to observe and think differently.

"They need these problem solving skills to be able to make change in the future," she said.

"That's what a lot of employers want."

Ms Richter said the course would also give middle school students an opportunity to consider a future career in agriculture, whether it be working on the family farm or through an increasing list of supporting roles within the industry.

With four jobs currently available for every agriculture graduate, the prospects are vast from research to communications.

"We want to expose them to other areas (of agriculture)," Ms Richter said.