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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
Following the successful inaugural running of the Hay Rural Education Program in 2015, 15 more young people were this year given the opportunity to learn the practical agricultural skills needed to help them get jobs on rural properties. The hands-on educational course is run in the western Riverina district of NSW with support from AWI. Hay Incorporated launched the Hay Rural Education Program in 2013 in response to concerns about the decline in the traditional jackaroo system and the associated lack of stock and other essential rural skills being handed down to the younger generation. Hay Incorporated Chairman Chris Bowman said the program’s objective is to provide young people with a diverse range of skills to make them more employable. “The falling number of jackaroos in recent times when a lot of properties were sold, in conjunction with the increased use of contract labour, resulted in a lack of young people with the proper training to get a job,” Mr Bowman said. “This program, with the help of properties around Hay, aims to help reverse this trend. We have had wonderful support from farmers and volunteers in the district offering practical and in-kind support like yards, stock and quarters; plus generous financial contributions from several individuals and organisations including AWI, TA Field, Tocal College and the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant.” The program focuses on wool and livestock production (both sheep and cattle) with the key aspects of production delivered in a practical setting in partnership with woolgrowers throughout the Hay district. It is delivered by trainers who have many years of experience on extensive rural properties. This year’s program was a three-week course, in three blocks of five days' training spread over a five-month period, covering a range of topics based around the production calendar for sheep, wool production and cattle. The program was enhanced this year to also include a three-month farm placement with seven of the trainees matched with local landholders to suit their labour needs. The first week of training was in February and covered work health and safety, first aid, livestock biosecurity and welfare, sheep handling at Michael Field’s ‘Wyvern’ property at Carrathool, and working dog training at Shear Outback with Ed McFarland and Geoff McDougal. The second block of training, in March, included small engine and motor bike maintenance with Les Lewis of Les’ Mobile Repairs, on-farm stock water repairs and maintenance by Roly Desailly and Richard Cannon at ‘Rosevale’ Hay. The final three days were spent learning wool harvesting and wool shed management at Paraway Pastoral’s ‘Steam Plains’ station under the guidance of AWI trainers Brian Sullivan and Mike Pora. In June, training included fence construction and maintenance with Sandy Symons and Waratah Fencing representatives, sheep (and lamb) handling and lamb procedures at the Rutledge family’s ‘Yeadon’ property, prime lamb assessment and nutrition with Geoff Duddy at the Hay Field Station, and Merino assessment and classing with Chris Bowman at ‘Burrabogie’. The final week of training concluded at the Hay Sheep Show on 18 June where trainees learnt about sheep judging and then competed in the Junior Judging Competition. AWI’s Stuart Hodgson also assisted at several of the training days. The 15 participants, including four girls – from Hay and throughout NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia – completed the course and were presented with their graduation certificates at the Hay Sheep Show by AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. “Our funding in programs like this aims to help improve the engagement of young people interested in the wool industry, thereby developing and retaining the skills the wool industry needs to be innovative in response to new challenges,” Mr McCullough said. The program will be run again next year, with continued funding from AWI. People interested in applying to join the program should contact the program coordinator Sandra Ireson on 0439 938 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org MORE INFORMATION www.hayinc.com.au A rural training program supported by AWI in the Hay district of NSW continues to help young people gain agricultural skills, education and experience. EXPANDS AT HAY JACKAROO TRAINING AWI’s Stuart Hodgson, with Hay Incorporated Chairman Chris Bowman (right), demonstrating Merino assessment and classing to students. PHOTO: Liz Teate. 42 ON FARM
In the Shops - September 2016