The future of agriculture is bright with Longerenong College students graduating

Source: Jade Bate, The Wimmera-Mail Times. Pictures: Jane Murray Photographs

Longerenong College's 2017 graduation

Students were rewarded for their years of hard work and dedication when they graduated from Longerenong College on Friday night.

Head of Campus/General manager John Goldsmith said it had been a tremendous year for the college.

“We had the highest number of graduates in 20 years,” he said.

“People choose Longerenong because of the combination of hands-on training and theory that supports that training. “I’m really proud that they have achieved so much so early on in their lives.”

Victorian Farmers Federation president and Longerenong College graduate David Jochinke was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

“David graduated 20 years ago and his speech focused on what advice he would give to his younger self,” he said.

“He is a great example for our students of what they can achieve if they set their minds to succeeding in the industry. The hall was full and the whole ceremony went off without a hitch. It was a lovely evening.”

Mr Goldsmith said the college’s major focus for 2018 would be attracting international students for its 2019 program.

“We’re in the early days at the moment and are negotiating with agents to finalise contracts, then we’ll start the marketing campaign,” he said. “The key focus will be students from China and India, but we won’t be restricted to those countries.”

With 33 graduates in 2017, Mr Goldsmith said the Advanced Diploma of Agriculture Business Management was the college’s flagship course.

That course’s 2017 dux was awarded to Emma McCrae (featured below right), who also received a scholarship from wool broker and buyer, Fox and Lillie.

Ms McCrae said she decided to take the course to learn more about wool buying.

“I used to work in a shearing shed and wanted to see where this industry could take me,” she said. “I worked really hard in the course so it was so good to get a great result. It’s a fantastic course; it opens up a lot of avenues and gives you opportunities to get hands-on experience in the industry.”  Ms McCrae has also completed a Certificate IV in Wool Classing at South West TAFE, Hamilton.

The 27-year-old former Casterton resident recently moved to Melbourne to work for Fox and Lillie as an internal control manager for responsible wool standards.

“I’m working with farmers all around the country to help them get accredited as responsible wool sellers,” she said.

Although it was a big change to move from regional Victoria to the city, she said it had all been worth it.

“It’s been really so far and I’m enjoying learning more about the industry,” she said.