Thursday, 22 February 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Applications now open for secondary schools around Australia to apply for a unique entrepreneurial learning program for Year 9 and 10 students.

In this exciting collaboration, AgriFutures Australia (formerly Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation) and have joined forces to deliver an exciting education program called AgriFutures™ that teaches school kids in rural and regional Australia to solve the problems facing agriculture using innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset.

AgriFutures Australia will sponsor seven schools across the country to receive a $7,000 education program that will take secondary students on an immersive journey into the entrepreneurial startup scene to help solve the problems facing agriculture in Australia.

The AgriFutures™ pilot program aims to show young people how the skills and mindset of entrepreneurs can allow them to create their own jobs. The Problem Based Learning (PBL) concept naturally reflects the way people learn and develop in real life. Presenting problems (not the solutions) to facilitate learning, will work in conjunction with skill development and awareness activities, presented in the form of modules.

“We learn because of our curiosity, because of the challenges we face, because of the things we do … and as we learn we grow. That’s why we’ve brought together entrepreneurs and academics to design a unique program of learning,” said Jo Burston, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Phronesis Academy, the parent company of

There are currently four jobs in agriculture for every university graduate studying an agricultural-related degree (Pratley, 2017). However, there are barriers to entrepreneurship in rural and regional areas that education in entrepreneurship aims to overcome. AgriFutures™’ unique approach enables students’ passion for, and interest in, business to be integrated into large scale solutions for local problems.

“We are thrilled to launch the AgriFutures™ program with Jo and her team. A key objective of AgriFutures Australia is to attract capable people into careers in agriculture, and this program will be a wonderful tool to expose high school students to different ways of approaching national rural issues, and importantly expand their horizons in terms of what a career in agriculture could look like,” said AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey.

To be eligible for the program, schools must be a secondary public high school and offer Commerce, Agricultural Studies or Geography to Year 9 or Year 10 students. Schools must also be located in a rural or regional area, and commit to delivering the program to a minimum of one class in Term 2 and Term 3 of 2018.

Applications are now open. Teachers or school representatives are encouraged to apply online at:

Applications close on Monday, 12 March 2018 at 5.00pm AEDT.


AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that do not have their own research and development function, new and emerging industries, and the issues that affect the whole of agriculture. The vision of the organisation is to grow the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries, which includes partnering and delivering programs and initiatives that attract people to a career in agriculture, building the capability of future rural leaders, and supporting change makers and thought leaders. was co-founded by Jo Burston and the late Dr Richard Seymour, former Programme Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The University of Sydney, on the premise that entrepreneurship is important for us all, as it’s been shown that entrepreneurial firms account for the clear majority of employment growth. The youth of today will probably end up working for entrepreneurial firms (if they don’t go out and start their own). brings entrepreneurial learning in action into classrooms, with programs designed for 10–17 year olds to equip the next generation to create real social and economic impact.


For more information on, or to arrange an interview with Jo Burston, please contact Liz Jackson:

For more information on AgriFutures Australia, or to arrange an interview with John Harvey, please contact Debbie van der Rijt: