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School students dream BIG during higher education visits

Around 250 primary school students will learn where higher education can take them during aspiration-raising visits to the Cradle Coast campus this month.

The University of Tasmania’s Rural Clinical School (RCS) and Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) are facilitating activities in a Dream BIG initiative, allowing local grade five and six students to see and experience what university is like.

Campus staff will also take the young visitors on tours which highlight the facilities and operations of the regional campus.

Organised in partnership with BIG, a coalition of North-West leaders working to inspire young people to further their learning, the program also includes visits to TasTAFE and Hellyer College.

Professor David Adams, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community, Partnerships and Regional Development) said it was important to engage students with higher education at a young age.

“We would like the next generations to start thinking about their futures, and what careers they can pursue in this region with the help of a university qualification,” Professor Adams said.

“Participating in programs like BIG builds on the community engagement our university is already leading in the North-West, a movement at the very heart of our social mission.”

Mark Smith, Chairman of BIG, said the committee was working to build the aspirations of young people in Burnie from primary school, right through to employment and university.

“The BIG group is a strong supporter of the Dream BIG program to allow primary school students access to workplace opportunities and help them to experience something new and think about their future a little,” Mr Smith said.

“It is about seeing what is out there, setting your sights and striving for a goal and people are never too young to do this; Begin the dream, Imagine the possibilities and Go for it.”

The program commenced on campus Thursday, 1 March, with incoming Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black attending the first session.

Staff from TIA facilitated a colostrum activity allowing students to gaze through brix refractometers that measured the quality of milk for feeding calves.

Students also participated in a “where does food or fibre come from” session involving a taste-test of different types of milk.

RCS staff and students are leading activities allowing participants to dress in hats, gloves and masks to perform simulated operations, practice hand hygiene with the help of special gel and a glow torch, and listen to each other’s hearts with stethoscopes.

A further two day-long sessions will be held at the Cradle Coast campus in the coming week.

Participating primary schools in the program are Havenview, Romaine Park, Burnie, Ridgley, Montello, Natone, Cooee and Somerset.