Victorian Training Award winner Kate Cross always knew she wanted to be a farmer. She began studying to achieve her goal as soon as she could through a VET course.
'I grew up on a cattle stud and loved it, and dreamt of having my own farm one day,' Kate says.
'I took the first steps towards achieving my dream in Year 10 at school, when I began a Certificate II in Agriculture.'
Kate finished Year 12 with the Certificate II, and went on to complete the diploma and advanced diploma in the same discipline. Her commitment to her studies earned her the Vocational Student of the Year title in the
Victorian Training Awards (VTA), and then an Australian Training Award in 2013.
VTA inspires and motivates
'It was unbelievable to be part of the awards,' Kate says. 'Although it was great to win, the best part for me was to meet all the wonderful people who participated and were so highly motivated and passionate about what they did. It was really inspiring to network with such fantastic people.'
Following her studies, Kate was employed as a stockperson at the Australian Agricultural Company's Tipperary Station based in the Northern Territory. Kate's training in cattle breeds, stock handling, nutrition and agricultural markets gave her the skills she needed to succeed in her career.
In 2016 she returned to Wimmera and added agronomy expertise to her skills. Agronomy is the agricultural science of growing crops, which encompasses plant genomics, physiology, meteorology and soil science.
'Agronomy was my second love at college and it has since become all absorbing,' Kate says. 'Working for BASF Australia as an Associate Breeder III, I'm doing lots of glasshouse work and seed trials with a view to creating new wheat varieties. We aim to commercially release our first viable variety in 2020.'
Choose VET for a fulfilling career
Kate says her VET studies enabled her to explore different avenues of the industry and take up new opportunities.
'VET suited me to a "T"—it's the best thing I've ever done,' Kate says. 'I've experienced two different sectors and have been able to use the knowledge I gained from my studies to diversify my skill base and discover new aspects of the industry.'
'If there are others out there wrestling with the "what to do after school?" question, I'd strongly urge them to give VET a go. They'll get hands-on, practical skills that will be a great foundation for a fulfilling career.'
Looking back on her journey thus far, Kate bubbles over with enthusiasm and passion for her work.
'I've loved every moment of it—it's been fantastic,' Kate says. 'Looking ahead, my goal is to have my own farm one day—maybe running some sheep or a small stud. I just want to be as happy as I am now.'
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