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Pathways into agricultural science in Tasmania: how did students find the way?


Turner, L and Spence, K, Pathways into agricultural science in Tasmania: how did students find the way?, Agricultural Science, 26, (2) pp. 47-53. ISSN 1030-4614 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology

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Agricultural education is an essential investment that creates graduates capable of improving the food and fibre sectors so that they can continue meeting the needs of the world’s rapidly growing population. The low awareness of agricultural science among the Australian public is an important factor limiting student enrolment in tertiary level agricultural science courses. In 2012, a roundtable of young scientists from around Australia identified common misperceptions about a career in the agricultural industry, which included limited career options, low career status and the unfavourable stereotype that only uneducated individuals are involved in agriculture.

In light of this intelligence, a recent qualitative study explored the pathways of young students currently enrolled in the University of Tasmania Agricultural Science degree. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with the 11 participants in August 2012. The interviews were recorded for subsequent transcription, and then a thematic analysis of the data was carried out using NVivo 10. The study revealed that interventions in the key decision making years (Grades 11 and 12) exposed students to information and experiences that overcame their initial misperceptions about agriculture1. Students were flexible in their career pathway choices and responded positively to the new experiences and information when it connected with their interests, goals and skills. This paper provides insight into the career decision making process of young people as it describes how students discovered and chose their pathway into agricultural science in Tasmania, and submits three recommendations that could alleviate the major constraints.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences
Research Field:Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teaching and curriculum not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Turner, L (Dr Lydia Turner)
UTAS Author:Spence, K (Ms Kelly Spence)
ID Code:97485
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2014-12-18
Last Modified:2015-04-22
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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