Closing in on a dream career in agriculture

Closing in on a dream career in agriculture

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A lifelong-desire to work within the agricultural industry was realised by former Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) student Shallan Herrig (pictured) when she graduated from CQUniversity with her Bachelor of Agriculture degree in-hand on December 4, 2018.

Born and bred in Gympie, Shallan discovered her love for the ag industry through her grandparents on both sides of her family owning small farms while she was growing up. 

“This meant that I was surrounded by agricultural influences and spent a lot of time in a farm environment,” Shallan said.

“I’ve always preferred practical hands-on experience to fulfill my love of learning relating in particular to animals, especially horses and farm life,” she said.

Her desire to work in the industry was further cemented while attending Gympie State High School, which she said has an excellent ag department and was also where she completed her Certificate I and Certificate II in Rural Operations through QATC in grades 11 and 12. 

“We completed our theory and some of the practical work at the farm at Gympie State High, and for the rest of our practical components we travelled to Narayen, in Mundubbera, which is one of the QATC training facilities.”

In 2015, after enjoying a gap year post-graduation, Shallan enrolled in and completed the Certificate III in Rural Operations (Horsemanship and Equine Reproduction) at QATC’s Emerald Agricultural College – which can lead to a career as a jillaroo or jackaroo, stud or stable hand, or a farm or station hand.

“Since I was 10, I’ve loved riding and working with horses, and the course has provided me with the foundation qualification I’d need if I wanted to enter the equine industry.” 

She said a diverse and interesting range of modules are covered in the course, including: horse handling and riding, horse breeding and foaling, stock work, administering medication, hoof care, animal health and welfare, preventing injury and disease, fencing, and chemical handling.

“I gained a lot of practical knowledge in all areas of horse riding and reproduction as well as general farm skills at the college.

“The college has a broad range of facilities that provides opportunities to expand your knowledge with horses, beef cattle and crops.”

She said the Emerald Agricultural College experience provided her with a comforting country lifestyle where she was surrounded by like-minded people. 

“I made great friendships in my time at college, and I have many memories that I will never forget. We enjoyed the local lifestyle which included attending local shows and rodeos.”

Shallan said her instructors at the Emerald Agricultural College provided her with a wealth of knowledge. 

“They put in so much time and effort into teaching me the skills that I needed to continue my career in ag.”

She said she has encouraged others to enrol in courses through QATC to achieve their dreams.

“It’s a doorway into the ag industry, you get a taste of the lifestyle and the type of work involved while also furthering your knowledge.

“Being in the ag environment at the Emerald Agricultural College strengthened my passion for the industry, and the Certificate III gave me the foundation practical skills I required for the CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture which also has an embedded QATC Diploma of Agriculture.”

Shallan said completing the Diploma of Agriculture course in 2016 gave her a broader understanding of the industry, with topics covered including: crop management, developing business plans, livestock health and welfare strategies, breeding strategies, business performance, developing farm plans, marketing and risk management.

“Gaining the Diploma of Agriculture provided me with practical skills and another qualification while completing the Bachelor of Agriculture with CQUniversity this year, which means in three years at I’ve obtained two qualifications.”

Subjects covered in the Bachelor of Agriculture degree include: crop management systems, soil and irrigation management, research techniques, sustainable crop production, business management, data management and analysis, and leadership and people management.

Shallan said she’s now ready to enter the agricultural industry professionally, into a position where she can continue to further her knowledge.

“I believe that through my studies with QATC and CQUniversity, this will be highly achievable.”

For information regarding the courses QATC offer call 1800 888 710, email, and visit 

Advertiser Content for Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges.

This story Closing in on a dream career in agriculture first appeared on Queensland Country Life.