Rolling with the punches and kicking goals

Rolling with the punches and kicking goals

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Heather Walker has been supported by CEF to achieve her career ambition to work in agriculture.

Heather Walker has been supported by CEF to achieve her career ambition to work in agriculture.

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Studying a Cert III in Agriculture (online) and a Cert IV in Wool Classing at Cowra TAFE, Heather Walker from Grenfell NSW credits her resilience during a tough 2020 to her country upbringing and the support of CEF.

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Heather Walker is one inspiring young lady who won't let life's challenges get in the way of her goals.

Growing up on a hobby farm near Grenfell, she developed a passion for agriculture: and influenced by her father and their farming neighbours, she hopes to pursue a career as an agricultural teacher.

Heather is a recipient of a scholarship from Country Education Foundation (CEF) enabling her to continue her tertiary studies despite many challenges.

Despite gaining early entry into a Bachelor of Teaching after completing her HSC in 2019, Heather decided to take a year 'off' and undertake two certificate courses.

Studying a Cert III in Agriculture (online) and a Cert IV in Wool Classing at Cowra TAFE, Heather loves being part of an industry that she believes will always bring new challenges and obstacles. She hopes to one day inspire the next generation of farmers.

"Now that I have finished school, I have been able to use 2020 as a way of grasping knowledge from those around me," she said.

"With little experience of large-scale farming, I have enrolled in courses to build on this.

"Not only will they allow me to develop my knowledge, but also to gain employment."

Heather is supported by CEF Grenfell and she used the available funds to purchase a reliable laptop to help with her studies.

"With both my courses relying heavily on online study, I have been able to adapt to change without hesitation or financial stress," she said.

"As I progress through my courses, this grant will further support me in achieving my goals. I would not have been able to do this without the generous support of my local CEF funds."

Heather certainly has been keeping busy.

As well as study and working on the home farm, she is employed at the local high school as a learning support teacher, works at the local gas station and volunteers as a scout leader.

"It has been a busy time taking on these opportunities within the community but is an amazing experience to work closely with locals and generate strong relationships," she said.

THE CHALLENGES OF 2020

On top of the COVID-19 disruption, Heather's father became very sick.

Being the eldest of three, she has taken on the responsibility of the farm and caring for her younger siblings.

Between hospital and nursing home visits, she has stepped up to being a role model but says "at least Dad taught me well!"

She says that continuing with TAFE helped her grow and develop knowledge but was also useful as a distraction from the uncontrollable events going on around her.

"TAFE has strengthened my knowledge and introduced me to new concepts within the agricultural industry. So far 2020 has challenged me with the commitment of work and study in a constantly changing environment," she said.

However, Heather takes it all in her stride and sees it as a learning experience.

"This series of unexpected events are training me to roll with life's punches," she said

"Whether it be financial stability, study schedules, committing to work, family or friends."

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