Nowadays innovative agriculture is impossible without a substantial technical know-how. Everyone working in the agricultural sector needs to be able to draw on an excellent education and knowledge of technology. Agricultural engineering, environmental technology, agromechatronics, renewable energy, and digital farming are key areas of modern agriculture.
In addition to that, it is important to acquire essential skills regarding plant and animal production in both theory and practice.
In order to meet these high requirements, the HBLA Pitzelstätten and the HTL 1 Lastenstrasse cooperate and offer a new and exceptional specialisation called “agricultural engineering and environmental technology” which is unique in the entire west, south, and upper Austrian areas. With HBLA Pitzelstätten, the only vocational, agricultural school in Carinthia, highly qualified teachers are integrating their knowledge and competences into their lessons.
The education lasts for five years and is eventually completed with a school-leaving examination (Matura). In the course of their school career at the HTL 1 Lastenstrasse, our pupils acquire a comprehensive education in the following areas:
- Agricultural machines and devices including conveyor technology for agriculture and silviculture
- Sustainable agriculture: animal husbandry, soil management and plant production
- Agriculture 4.0 and agromechatronics
- Systems regarding mechatronics (“Smart Farming”) that are, for example, present in milking and feeding robots, chicken coops as well as in devices used for seeding, fertilizing and plant protection
- Digital recording and quality assurance
- Renewable energy: application of photovoltaics, biomass, wind and water power plants in the agricultural sector to guarantee both an ecological sustainability and a self-sufficient energy supply
- Rural development and funding
- Business formation and management
Furthermore, our pupils are free to choose from several extra subject-specific training courses, such as “skilled agricultural technician”, forestry training (e.g. chainsaw training), a driver’s license for tractors, agricultural techniques and stall design, and courses on drones, hunting and fishing.
A cooperation for the future
State-of-the art workshop areas and laboratories at the HTL 1 Lastenstrasse and the HBLA Pitzelstätten represent the perfect place to acquire a comprehensive technical education that has its finger on the pulse of current affairs. With its own agriculture, subsuming more than 50 hectares, a substantial fleet of vehicles, and its own livestock, the HTBLA Pitzelstätten possesses excellent teaching aids.
In addition to that, pupils of this educational emphasis benefit from the technical and agricultural know-how of skilled personnel from both schools.
1. How does the cooperation between the HTL1 Lastenstraße and the HBLA Pitzelstätten work?
Two forms of education will be offered. The HTL1 offers a 5-year-education of “Agricultural engineering and environmental technology“, concluding with a school-leaving examination called “Reife- und Diplomprüfung“. The HBLA Pitzelstätten offers a 3-year-advanced training course of “Agricultural engineering, energy engineering and environmental technology“, enabling graduates of Carinthian environmental technical colleges to take the school-leaving examination of the so-called “Reife- und Diplomprüfung“. The cooperation offers the unique opportunity of using both educational centres. At both schools the students get a very modern and comprehensive education in the field of environmental and economic technology. Thereby the very modern, well-equipped laboratories and workshop areas of the HTL1 as well as the unique infrastructure of the HBLA Pitzelstätten (a farm of their own with teaching operations, farm animals and a forrest) are used. Above all, both schools are located within a few kilometres of distance to each other, which enables an intensive exchange and a close collaboration with each other.
2. Why does the HTL1 not offer the education of “Agricultural engineeering and environmental technology“ on their own, without any cooperation with another school?
The HTL1 is the Carinthian center of excellence of Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering and Mechatronics. In addition, in the last years the school has turned into a significant center for environmental technology, renewable energy sources and sustainability. Some highlights of this development can be seen in the 113kWp PV system and the center of excellence of “Renewable sources of energy“. The school’s equipment, workshop areas and laboratories as well as the specialized teachers enable a technical education of high quality.
The new education of “Agricultural engineering and environmental technology“ is not supposed to be limited only to technology, but also aims at imparting comprehensive agricultural competences. These include sustainable plant growing, animal farming, agricultural production and marketing and forestry, just to name a few.
3. What does the cooperation mean for both schools?
The collaboration between both schools enables the development of an agricultural and environmental technical center of competence in Carinthia which is unique in the southern, eastern and western area of Austria.
4.What does the cooperation mean for Carinthia?
The cooperation enables an education which is not only unique in Carinthia, but also in the neighbouring federal countries. Comparable forms of education in the field of agricultural engineering can only be found in Lower and Upper Austria. All Carinthian people interested in agricultural engineering can do an education of agricultural engineering and environmental technology with a school-leaving examination in Carinthia with the beginning of the school year of 2019/ 2020. This is also a significant step to diminish the so-called “Brain-Out“, i. e. the emigration of young Carinthian people into other federal countries due to a lack of educational possibilities in their home country.
5. Which highlights does the education of “Agricultural engineering and environmental technology“ offer?
The creation of the curriculum was based on a so-called „all-inclusive“ package for all young people interested in agricultural engineering and environmental technology. Some special highlights include the following:
- Possibility of becoming a skilled agricultural technician
- Acquisition of a driver’s license for tractors
- Forestry training (chainsaw training)
- Agricultural techniques and stall design (agromechatronics)
- Courses on drones (“a license for drones“)
- “Smart and Precision Farming“
6. Where do the lessons take place and how long does the education last for the students of both schools?
The teaching primarily takes place in each school. This means that the 5-year-education mainly takes place in the HTL1 Lastenstraße, while the 3-year-advanced training course mainly takes place in the HBLA Pitzelstätten. Special agricultural courses will be taught in the nature on the 50-hectare-area of the HBLA Pitzelstätten. The technical education will take place in the very modern workshop areas and laboratories of the HTL1 Lastenstraße.
7. Which possibilities do those students have who cannot commute daily between their home and Klagenfurt?
In February, 2019, the newly constructed and very modern students’ home of the HBLA Pitzelstätten will be opened. For more information see www.pitzelstaetten.at/schuelerheim
8. Which possibilities do the graduates of both schools have?
The graduates of both schools are well-prepared for modern agricultural engineering and are able to deal with the challenges of digitalisation and Agriculture 4.0. Additionally, they have a broad technical background knowledge and competences in the area of business formation and management. This enables various employment possibilities not only in agricultural areas, but also in the field of mechanical engineeering and mechatronics. Above all, at the end of the education all students acquire the school-leaving diploma of the so-called “Reife- und Diplomprüfung“ which enables them to study at a university. This is an active step against the emigration of skilled engineering workers.
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A market analysis conducted in spring 2018 has shown that there is a substantial interest in this form of education.
Prof. DI Helmut Kampl, Head of Department
M: +43 669 131605 16
F: +43 463 316 05 23