Nurturing the next generation of graziers

Leaving home for boarding school can be hard for many students, none more so than those transitioning from living in the country to school life in the city.

For a group of girls at St Margaret’s, however, it is at boarding school in Brisbane where they are developing their skills for tertiary studies, always with the aim of skilling up to return to their farms.

Elizabeth Kettle, who grew up on a cattle station in the central highlands, is aiming to study agricultural science and agribusiness when she leaves school so that, armed with a tertiary degree, she can one day take over the reins at home alongside her siblings as a fifth generation family grazier.

“At St Margaret’s there is a growing number of girls interested in agricultural studies. Although the school doesn’t offer agricultural studies as part of the curriculum, the staff are committed to assisting us to pursue this pathway beyond school through providing guidance on senior subject selection and information on courses available.

“We are provided with a magnitude of resources in and out of school to assist our future endeavours in agriculture,” Elizabeth said.

For Eva Moller, who has dreams of following in her father’s footsteps working on their 90,000 acre cattle property in the Blackall district, studying agribusiness or an area of veterinary studies is the direction she is pursuing.

“I am hoping to learn more about livestock before returning to the land to manage and assist my father at our properties in the future.

“St Margaret’s careers education program has really helped me to gain knowledge and understanding of the types of tertiary courses and programs that will assist me to increase my knowledge in that area,” Eva said.

From a cotton farm in Goondiwindi, Emma Arnott plans to study agriculture at university to develop the necessary skills to work in the cattle industry.

Emma says St Margaret’s has supported her in realising this future in more ways than one.

“Through the school’s careers education and development program I have learnt about a variety of career pathways and opportunities which has helped me to make decisions about my study and work options beyond school,” says Emma.

Emma has also benefited from living within the school’s diverse boarding community that is, even among the country students, diverse in agricultural background.

“Living within a community of girls from diverse parts of the Australian outback has opened my eyes to the range of agricultural industries and opportunities.

“I’ve also been inspired by hearing firsthand from past boarding students who have recently transitioned to studying agriculture at university or their chosen career,” says Emma.

It is through these boarding connections that Emma has already lined up a work placement after she graduates from school.

Before commencing her university studies, Emma plans to spend a year working on a cattle station as a Jillaroo gaining hands on experience in the industry.

Among St Margaret’s extensive extracurricular offerings, girls can join the school’s camp drafting team.

The school is also exploring options for Year 10 students to study a Certificate II Agriculture, to be offered from next year.