The Hay Inc Rural Education Program celebrated five years of the success of the program with the Inaugural Hay Inc Rural Education Program Alumni Networking Event held at Shear Outback on the eve of the Hay Merino Sheep Show.
A large contingent of graduates of the Hay Inc Rural Education Program attended the event.
Many traveled long distances to attend to meet graduates from other year groups and network with volunteer trainers, industry representatives and sponsors.
At the event, Hay Inc chairman Chris Bowman spoke to the crowd about the development of Hay Inc and the need for a hands on training program such as this for the industry.
"We have come along in leaps and bounds since 2013 and there are so many people and organisations to thank most sincerely for their support: Australian Wool Innovation has been the major sponsor and supporter from the very beginning and has done much to promote and recognise our work with training young people. Michael Field from TA Field has been a champion supporter and sponsor from the outset.," Mr Bowman said.
He also passed on thanks to "Hay's generous station owners, managers and business proprietors who have given so freely of their time and resources to enable Hay Inc to operate each and every year, and to those who employ graduates and give them the invaluable opportunity to experience life on the land."
Acknowledgment was also given to input over the years from NSW Department of Primary Industries - Tocal College and also Hay Shire Council, and TAFE Hay for their invaluable support.
Along with NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association for their recent contribution to making the evening possible and for funding of future scholarships and pathways for employment of graduates.
With a special mention and thanks to John and Lisa Vick, who in memory of their son, initiated the Mathew Vick Scholarship.
Chris concluded with his heartfelt thanks to the Hay Inc committee and volunteers who work so well together for the benefit of the wider Hay community and agriculture in general
Wally Merriman representing Australian Wool Innovation and Drew Chapman NSW Stud Merino Breeders also addressed the crowd congratulating Hay Inc on the success of the program.
Will Koop Hay Inc Rural Education Alumni from the 2017 intake, thanked the sponsors, supporters, volunteers and committee on behalf of the Hay Inc Alumni for the great experience they have had being participants of the program.
Will from Nhill in Victoria grew up on a cropping property, attended Hay Inc and then took part in a six months work placement with the Gibson's at "Croidon" Hay.
Will has developed a strong interest in sheep and wool and is now running a few merino sheep with his parents at Nhill.
"The on going mentoring from volunteers in Hay Inc and especially people like Rob Gibson has been invaluable. I am now attending University in Melbourne and I have made more life long friends in the 3 weeks of the Hay Inc training program then I have in the year and half I have been at University", he said.
Chris Bowman congratulated the Hay Inc Alumni and current trainees and encouraged them to make the most of the opportunities they have been given to network to advance their careers in agriculture.
Many attended the Hay Merino Sheep Show the following day with a very successful well attended event.
Anita King Gee, Hay Inc participant graduating at the Hay Merino Sheep Show on Saturday, took out third place in the Don McNeill Memorial Junior Sheep Judging competition (15 and under 25 year age group), where there were 26 young people competing.
The inaugural Mathew Vick Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Hay Inc participant, Katharina Schambach, who received $400 for her commitment and dedication to the Hay Inc program.
James Lines Hay Inc Alumni from the 2018 program returned to Hay from South Australia to be an Associate Judge at the Hay Merino Sheep Show.
While Hay Inc chairman Chris Bowman was presented the Hay Merino Sheep Show Ambassador Award at the show.
Tim Lee and the TV crew from ABC Landline had also spent a number of days filming the Hay Inc program at work and following up on their initial story of Hay Inc in 2015 when the first graduates started.
The initial Landline story being a great catalyst in the promotion of the program and encouraging young people to take part in the Hay Inc program.
The Landline story featuring Hay Inc will be aired in a few weeks time.
Hay Inc is now taking expressions of interest from anyone interested in taking part in the 2020 program
Australian Wool Innovation is a key partner of the Hay Inc Rural Education Program and the NSW Stud Merino Breeders supported the Hay Inc Alumni Event.
Photos available - Contact Hay Incorporated Sandra Ireson 0439 938 119 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org