We are happy to introduce you to the third of our four amazing Finalists for the 2017 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award.
Sandra Ireson is from the Riverina town of Booligal in NSW. She has a keen interest in developing pathways for younger generations to gain a start in primary industries.
Throughout her career Sandra recognised that the younger generation had limited opportunities to gain the basic hands-on training and bush skills to make them employable, resulting in diminishing numbers of young people entering or staying in agriculturally dependent communities and townships like Hay.
To address this challenge, in 2014 Sandra co-developed the Hay Inc. Rural Education Program to give young people the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career in agriculture. The program provides hands-on training, ongoing mentoring, and access to rural networks and landholders which young people can use to spring board a career in agriculture.
If successful Sandra will use the bursary to build on the success of the Hay Inc. Rural Education Program to develop an adaptable model to promote that can be used by other communities across Australia, contributing to their long term sustainability.
Whether off the farm or from the city young people will have the opportunity to learn all of the practical agricultural skills they will need – from shearing management and wool classing to fixing motorbikes and fences.
The model not only provides a pathway for young people wanting a career in agriculture but it will also provide a network between district landholders, employers and trainees, and the opportunity for ongoing mentoring of trainees into the future.
Sandra was interviewed by Chris Bath on ABC evenings. You can listen to Sandra’s interview to learn more about her project. (Fast forward 1 hr 20 mins for Sandra’s segment).