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Australian fresh produce supply chain education project set to be rolled out nationally

A unique educational tool that will immerse school students in the dynamic world of global fruit and vegetable supply chain management is being extended to classrooms nationally, to help inspire and equip them to take up roles in the fresh produce industry.

The initiative, which started as a pilot in Victoria’s Gippsland region last year, will be launched to high school teachers nationwide this week via two webinars that will explain the learning module and the benefits of acquiring knowledge about the operations responsible for distributing food worldwide. The CQUniversity Australia-designed program will be delivered with the support of the Sydney-based supply chain intelligence provider Escavox, which has provided a customized version of their leading-edge software platform, normally reserved for some of the world’s biggest food companies to monitor their supply chains.

What is Escavox?
Escavox is a fresh food intelligence business using smart-track technology to collect and report real-time data on supply chain performance across a number of fresh products including mangoes and avocados. Data is instantly generated by pocket-sized devices that capture information on temperature, time, and location while embedded with food as it moves around the globe, effectively enabling food suppliers to optimize the management of their products during transit. 

Photo: Molly O'Dea, from the CQUniversity Agricultural Education and Extension Cluster, using the Escavox supply chain dashboard. 

Schools that participate in the program will have an interactive, digital platform at their fingertips, virtually simulating the program that Escavox customers use to track the movement of their food products throughout the globe. 

Teachers and students who work through the learning module, designed by the Agricultural Education and Extension Cluster at CQUniversity, will have access to their own purpose-built Escavox dashboard or ‘user-interface’. While the information will not be live or connected to actual customer data, the experience will simulate the supply of produce from their local region to all parts of the world, where the safe and successful delivery of that product depends on the decisions they take during the exercise. 

Technology is our new assistant
“The module drives home the message of the critical role that technology plays in helping to feed the people on our planet,” CQUniversity Researcher, Dr. Nicole McDonald said. “It’s giving students in this program tangible information with real-world outcomes. We hope to see the community increase their knowledge of the Australian agricultural sector and more importantly, a greater number of people taking up careers in agriculture as a result. Agriculture is such a broad industry, and we need to showcase the many different types of skills and knowledge that are required to lead to a range of exciting careers.”

Dr. McDonald said the study of supply chains incorporated many disciplines, particularly across the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, but also social sciences to provide early learning in business management, marketing and communications, and international trade and diplomacy.

“On that basis you can build a whole unit of work that incorporates many disciplines within the curriculum focused on the functioning of global supply chains, allowing students to address challenges and offer ways to improve how they operate,” Dr. McDonald said. “In many cases, there are no right or wrong answers – the attraction of this program is that it is designed to generate critical thinking and higher-level analytical skills so that students develop the tools to conduct their own investigations and form solutions they can test and evaluate in a collaborative environment. These are skills we see as highly valued by modern workplaces operating in sectors like supply chains that are evolving quickly and are infinitely complex.”

CQUniversity is hosting webinars for teachers and others interested in the program on October 7 and 14. To register go to: 

Source: Escavox press release

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