For some people, working on the farm is a career they fell into, perhaps a job passed down through generations of family, or a logical option because of where they live or the, at times, informal requirements of the industry.
Undertaking some form of training or course however, is an excellent way those interested to increase their skill set and work towards establishing themselves in a specific field of agriculture.
Dairy farmer Edwina Hayes returned to study after 12 years’ dairy farming at Nullawarre in Victoria’s south west. Undertaking a Diploma of Agriculture with Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST) has been of great benefit to Edwina, arming her with better business skills, a network of like-minded peers, and the ability to combine work, home life and study. “I’m learning so much more than I ever thought I would,” she says.
“The business skills, learning about occupational health and safety in the workplace and managing staff are areas I previously had not focused on (as) I was busy with the hands-on, ‘physical’ side of share farming,” she explains. “But since commencing my study through RIST, I can see now how these topics are so important to our day-to-day business.”
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Edwina is excited about progressing her goal of farm ownership, and credits study for “removing her blinkers” and providing the skills, contacts and experience to confidently plan for her future.
“You make great friends, learn from the best industry leaders and gain confidence in your decision making and planning,” she says.
RIST’s innovative and expansive vocational education program provides students with a clear pathway for studies in agriculture, including traineeships in Agriculture at Certificate II and Certificate III levels, through to higher non-traineeship education programs covering Certificate IV and Diploma level. The program includes accredited and non-accredited courses, giving students broad, hands-on and practical training to meet industry demand, delivering workplace-ready graduates who are highly sought after by the industry.
Students wishing to further their agriculture education can also apply for the Upskill and Invest - Young Farmers Scholarship, which provides successful recipients with up to $5000 towards training or study, then further funds of up to $5000 to invest on-farm or in professional development, where they can put their new skills into practice.
For details, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au