Seeking a change from her job in pharmacy, Kerrilyn Bassett landed a job as a farm labourer, and thus began her dream career.
‘I literally stumbled into farm work as something completely different to do from my work in the chemist,’ says Kerrilyn.
‘I had never experienced farm life before but as it turned out I loved it, so the next step was to get some qualifications in the field.’
Not only did she take herself off to study a Certificate III in Agriculture at GOTAFE and distinguish herself as a stand-out student, Kerrilyn won the GOTAFE Agriculture and Shepparton campus Student of the Year.
‘I was really keen to learn and probably drove the teachers mad because I asked so many questions—but I must have impressed them too as I won the GOTAFE award and was then nominated for the Victorian Training Awards,’ says Kerrilyn.
She won, and credits the award for opening many doors.
‘It boosted my confidence and opened up many opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise, i met industry leaders, was invited to lots of events and was selected to go to New Zealand on a study tour,’ says Kerrilyn.
‘Another bonus was that I became a representative for the industry—that was important because it provided the opportunity for a young female voice to be heard in an industry which traditionally has an older profile and tends to be male dominated.’
She is now employed at Peppertree Dairy Farm in Kyabram, northern Victoria.
Her role involves everything from milking cows, rearing calves, growing crops, riding tractors and doing fencing and repairs.
‘I’ve come a long way from my labouring days when I was just doing what I was told—now I’m involved in and influencing lots of decisions on the farm and that’s really gratifying,’ says Kerrilyn.
Looking to the future, she plans to do an advanced diploma so she learn more of the business side.
‘Who knows, it’s not too much of a stretch for me to dream about taking over a farm one day and being my own boss, It doesn’t hurt to think big and that’s what I intend to do,’ Kerrilyn adds.
Good news for anyone thinking of following in Kerrilyn’s footsteps is that the Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production) is one of the 30 tuition-free priority TAFE courses announced by the Government in the 2018/2019 Budget.
Courses start from first semester 2019. For more information contact the TAFE and Training Line on 131 823.