Rachael prepares for life on the land
RACHAEL Byrne has been dreaming of managing her own cattle property or horse stud since she was a little girl, and is about to make her dreams come true.
The 19-year-old from Childers has spent the last four months learning what it takes to run a property through the Stickit Rural Training program in Maryborough.
While living on-site, Rachael has learned how to muster animals, build and fix fences, drive tractors and other skills needed to run a station.
Today she signed up for a two-year apprenticeship with a cattle station near Emerald, taking her one step closer to achieving her life goals.
"At the end of it I'll have a Certificate III in agriculture, and depending on how the two years go, I'll go on to do a Diploma in agriculture also," Rachael said.
"It's just something I've always wanted to do- I love it."
Principal of the program Brendan Condon has been running the project for five years and has helped dozens of people gain employment in the agriculture and primary industries sector in that time.
"Agriculture is the future," he said.
"You can't live without food and I think we'll see more and more jobs in that area as the years go on, like we're seeing now."
The program is monitored and supported by Apprenticeship Support Australia, a non-profit organisation contracted by the Federal Government.
Industry training consultant from ASA Wendy Powell said programs like Stickit were so valuable to the Fraser Coast and the surrounding region.
"With unemployment as high as it is here, people need to know what opportunities are out there," Wendy said.
"[The program] is helping to fight against a big issue."