Image above: High school students with their charge (Image source – Sally Tsoutas)
The annual UniSchools Steer Challenge aims to equip high school students with the skills and knowledge needed to raise a steer.
15 schools from across western Sydney gathered at the Western Sydney University's Hawkesbury campus for the Training day and Opening Ceremony this month for the competition.
As part of the program, students learn about the Agriculture and meat industry standards as well as being taught correct animal care and nutrition procedures. Each school is then given the responsibility of feeding, handling and caring for a Hereford steer for up to 100 days.
"The challenge provides a practical and theoretical side to the reality of beef production and is why high schools are choosing to take up the challenge," says Stephen Blunden, Adjunct Fellow and co-ordinator of the event.
Helping in the student workshop the day was Western Sydney University Animal Science student, Alana Wade, who participated in the UniSchools steer program for over 5 years when she was at Colo High school.
At the completion of the challenge in August, students from the participating schools will present their steers at the Hawkesbury Showground where their steer raising skills will be judged individually and as a school team.
Macarthur Anglican took out the title as Champion School for two categories last year and will be again competing this year, along with the following schools:
Arndell Anglican College
Caroline Chisholm College
Elizabeth Macarthur High
McCarthy Catholic College
Macarthur Anglican School
Mount Annan Christian School
St Columba's Catholic College