“Being born on the land, cattle are my everything. It was fitting that I did a Certificate III in Agriculture (AHC30116) just to get a better understanding of weeds and sprays and all that sort of thing,” said Dusty.
A long way from the 2800 acre property at Taroom that he calls home, Dusty was able to undertake a school-based traineeship while in Year 10 at boarding school through TAFE Queensland.
The balance of theory and practical worked around Dusty’s schoolwork and his trips back home during the holidays.
Dusty explained that he learned more than just the cropping side of agriculture.
“We did a lot on ticks and poisons in cattle, sheep, pigs, mustering techniques where the cattle needed to be placed so you and your other workers don't get hurt,” Dusty said.
“You had a choice on what particular animal you wanted to work on and obviously, I know my cattle, so worming cattle is what we worked with."
“You’d go home, work your hours and then you report back to TAFE, and fill in your paperwork and stuff like that. It's all photo evidence, video evidence, so they see that you got to do it. It's all pretty practical,” he said.
Dusty looks forward to applying the skills and knowledge he acquired through his school-based apprenticeship back on the farm when he heads home.
“I'll be able to plan out when to move cattle, breeding seasons, when to apply poisons to weeds, and other things like that — using the machinery in general, tractors, bikes and those sorts of things,” he explained.
In Year 12, Dusty furthered his studies and his passion for animals with a Certificate II in Animal Studies (ACM20117), through the TAFE at School program.
With the practical learning, real-life scenarios and helpful teachers, Dusty suggests any high school students thinking about studying TAFE at School should just go for it.
“Meeting different people, seeing how they work, it's something that I find quite interesting. Everybody works different, learns different. It's amazing how we all work together and finish together and TAFE Queensland is pretty flexible with workload. It's great!” Dusty said.