In it’s third year, Hay Inc Rural Education Program welcomed a full compliment of students eager to learn a variety of skills to give them the practical knowledge to assist with their careers in agriculture.
Sandra Ireson, Hay Inc Committee member and volunteer said seven girls and eight boys took part in the 2017 program.
“We have a great mix of young people both local and from throughout eastern Australia coming to Hay,” Mrs Ireson said.
“It is rewarding to see such a keen group of young people excited for a career in agriculture and the lifestyle it offers”.
The use of social media by Hay Inc is attracting many young people who wish to make a career associated with the land.
Participating in the current group, Lexie Tiller saw Hay Inc advertised on Facebook and thought it a relevant course suited for her career aspirations.
Ms Tiller joined the 2017 intake after a stint on a 32,300ha sheep and cattle property near Brewarrina, which was a different experience for the young girl from Balaclava, SA.
“It was my first jillaroo job,” Ms Tiller said.
“I’ve always been interested in agriculture and I learnt a fair bit.”
But Ms Tiller wanted to build on her experience by getting more knowledge, as she views agriculture as a great career prospect.
“I like being outdoors, and there are plenty of opportunities in agriculture,” she said.
“I had some general knowledge about sheep and cattle before I went to Brewarrina, but I hadn’t done a lot of mustering or lambmarking.”
Ms Tiller pointed out she doesn’t think a university course is an option for her as she would rather pursue an education focusing on practical skill and experience.
“Courses like Hay Inc which is more social than study, more hands-on is what I am looking for,” she said.
“And TAFE courses I will consider.”
Learning alongside other young people keen to be involved in agriculture, and noting the value of her experience, Ms Tiller said she would certainly recommend the Hay Inc course to other young people wishing to make a career in the bush.
“I think more young people should go into the agricultural industry because there are so many different things to be involved with,” she said.
“The volunteers are doing an amazing job, taking time off from their work to teach us and use their experience for our benefit.”
Ms Tiller has secured a job as a jillaroo on a large property in South Australia which operates as both tourism venture and pastoral station, where she will be involved in each enterprise.
“I will be putting the new skills I learnt in Hay Inc to good use,” she said.
Learning skills for first year jackaroo
Learning of the courses offered by Hay Inc through Facebook opened a new world of career opportunities for Doug Caldwell.
The young man hails from the Bega Valley and is commencing his agricultural career as a first year jackaroo on Wyvern Station, Carathool.
Extending his range of skills is what Mr Caldwell most appreciates about his participation in the Hay Inc courses.
“It has been a bit of everything,” he said. “We’ve been in a shearing school, working with dogs, fencing and low-stress stock handling.”
The last course was one in which Mr Caldwell has gained most knowledge during his short time in the Riverina, because it confirms his experience from his first day on Wyvern Station working with sheep in the yards.