Have you consider a junior position at one of the many livestock and cropping operations around Australia?
One the most prominent challenges that face farm managers in the present day is lack of young, devoted and hardworking staff.
Agriculture is striving to claw back the average age of its workforce and promote youth back into the management hierarchy.
Over my two years working on a sheep station in the New England region of NSW prior to attending Marcus Oldham College, I learnt to respect my capabilities and apply myself fully to each task.
I really valued the ability to work co-operatively with the senior station staff and I personally learnt to respect and cooperate with a range of backgrounds and experience levels.
This also created a great social and contextual basis to the theory at Marcus Oldham College.
I strongly recommend working for a family owned company.
The values of the family filter down and are strongly reflected in the management of the property.
Both the junior and senior staff that had been working there for 10 years plus felt appreciated and valued through fluid communication from the owner and management team.
This culture was also enhanced with clear pathways up the hierarchy.
For people that haven’t worked or been exposed to the production side of agriculture, it’s safe to say it has a very larrikin nature about it.
Myself and the other junior staff thoroughly enjoyed listening to our co-worker’s stories at smoko and lunch; most too crude to repeat.
But it’s this welcoming and relaxed nature that made us feel comfortable and confident among the levels of authority.
In regards to hard work and physical demands, every boss sees these as a desirable traits in a young worker but what was strongly instilled in me over my time working as a jackaroo was to ‘work smart, not hard’.
There is no doubt working on a sheep station can be hard work but when you are guided by an experienced overseer and manager, the scale of some jobs and the physical demands can be greatly reduced by logically thinking through established processes and applying correct stockmanship techniques.
The efficiency of physical tasks such as drenching, drafting and jetting that I perceived as stressful and tiring were greatly improved, making a significant difference when working on a larger scale.
It’s not only the work ethic that greatly benefited my personal attributes.
The lifestyle and leisure aspect of working on a property away from home had great advantages.
Being able to immerse yourself into a new community through sporting teams, social events and other community functions was very beneficial to my networking outside of work.
I found it a great experience to step outside my local area where I grew up and individualise myself in a new location surrounded at first by strangers who soon became great mates.
The range of new people you met and the stories that are shared at the pub, a rodeo or with your sporting team will stay with you for life.
Many young people may think that agriculture isn’t for them or that it won’t benefit their future career; be it in agriculture or not.
I strongly believe that working in agriculture, even if it’s for only six months to a year, the personal attributes and physical skills gained are eternally priceless.