Year 9 students attending Monash Tech School take part in the Superhealth program, the first day of which involves a tour of facilities in the healthcare industry. The tour begins at the Yakult factory in Dandenong, giving students the opportunity to observe the manufacturing and packaging processes of Yakult’s only manufacturing plant in Australia and New Zealand.
The tour began by splitting students up into two groups, one group toured the facility’s manufacturing process of Yakult and the bottles, while the other group watched a video of Yakult’s history in Australia and had the opportunity to sample Yakult. The groups then swapped over once they were finished with their initial activities. If a student were to be asked about some of the connotations associated with the word ‘healthcare’, common answers would include the medical sector and associated professionals such as doctors, seldom would a student ever consider the health food sector. Therefore, this
tour is tailored to the Superhealth program in that students were able to gain a different
perspective on the variety of stakeholders operating the in the healthcare sector, where
extensive research into beneficial bacteria combined with cutting edge production technology by Yakult helps better the lives of individuals.
The objective of the Yakult tour is to help students understand the planning and the
technology required to provide quality products and services in healthcare. Some of the
planning students were able to observe is the how the production plant is laid out for
maximum production efficiency of Yakult, and the technology required to service consumers of Yakult efficiently. Students can utilize this knowledge during the Superhealth program when planning their own hospitals, considering the layout of a hospital for usability, and technologies they can include in a hospital to help improve patient care, but also provide world class training for healthcare professionals so they are able to provide high quality care.
The tour compliments Monash Tech School’s problem-based learning, wherein the research component of the design thinking approach is utilized for the tour. This approach will not only help the thinkers of tomorrow understand how to tackle a complex problem that is ill- defined, by re-framing the problem in human centric ways, it is also a necessary skill required for a rapidly growing STEM sector. As the world becomes a more globalized economy, students must have the problem-solving capacities to work in a competitive STEM sector.
MTS thus aims to expose students to areas where lateral thinking is required to provide
effective solutions, the tour of the Yakult factory is the first phase in apprehending how
processes observed in the factory can be applied into other human centered problems that need to be solved for the future.