Three Adelaide University students awarded APL-sponsored Undergraduate Industry Placement Awards in late 2019 used the opportunity to develop greater confidence in their pig handling skills while placed in SA piggeries during January and February.
These awards are designed to provide students with first-hand exposure to commercial pig production practices, and to develop their interest in pursuing a career within the pork industry after graduation.
In SA, the APL UIPA program is supported by Pork SA, enabling industry consultant Graeme Pope to assist students with their award applications, to locate their placement farms, and to conduct on-site introductions to farm staff prior to their placements commencing.
During the 2020 summer, students were hosted by piggeries at Shea-Oak Log, Brinkley and Coonalpyn.
Two of the students have since re-enrolled at Roseworthy Campus after completing their placements to commence a pig-focused Honours degree program.
"My UIPA experience was nothing but positive. The experience reinforced my passion and love for pigs and has only made me more excited to begin my future career in the pork industry," student Chelsea Dossett said.
"There were ample opportunities for me to get involved with farm duties and I built my confidence in handling and moving pigs of all sizes."
"The UIPA provided me with an accurate perception of the pork industry and taught me that on a farm there is no correct or incorrect way to do things.
"What is best practice for one farm may not be the best for another."
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Sarah James said she strongly believes the placement has been a huge help for her future study by providing a fundamental understanding of the basics and giving her time to hone pig handling and husbandry skills, as well as getting a better grasp on certain content that lectures can't provide.
"Any students thinking of applying for this placement should definitely go for it, even if they're unsure whether they have a passion for pig production," she said.
"It gets you safely out of your comfort zone."
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