The students take the quad bikes out for a spin
The sun has barely been up long enough to make the grass steamy but already, a group of keen teenagers are tucking into breakfast at CDU's Katherine Campus in preparation for another day’s hard yakka.
The sun has barely been up long enough to make the grass steamy but already, a group of keen teenagers are tucking into a fortifying breakfast at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Katherine Campus in preparation for another day’s hard yakka.
Today, these 10 Year 10 students who’ve made the 500-kilometre cross-border journey from Kununurra District High School in northern Western Australia will learn horsemanship as part of their Certificate I in Rural Operations.
It’s one of seven visits teacher Kris Thomas will make with his work readiness class to the CDU Katherine Campus this year.
Kris has been bringing students to CDU for 18 months, after finding out about the University’s rural studies program and on-campus accommodation through Crocfest and applying for away from base funding.
“It helps with their employability and helps them explore different avenues and experience life outside school,” he said.
He said CDU, which owns its own 77,000 hectare cattle property and has a registered Brahman stud, was the only place of its kind to offer students this range of skills and experience.
“Employers in Kununurra are crying out for local apprentices and trades people and they’re happy to invest in local people who are likely to stay there.”
He said staying on campus and attending classes from sun-up to sundown was good for developing the students’ work ethic and sense of routine.
“Even if they don’t end up working in the industry, it teaches them about having to be certain places at certain times,” Kris said.
Kununurra student Susie Mason, the only girl among the group, knows exactly where she wants to be.
“I’m going to go to boarding school and do equine studies so I can work in racing and pacing stables in New Zealand,” she said.
Susie says her experience has encouraged her to pursue a career in equine body work (horse massage).
“I’ve had horses all my life but I didn’t do much riding until I came (to CDU) last year and I really enjoyed doing all the horse stuff.”
Aaron Lilly said he wants to continue his studies with a Certificate II in Agriculture at CDU and hopefully gain a job in the pastoral industry.
“I enjoyed the quad-biking the most this time,” he said.
For more information about Rural Studies and on-campus accommodation at Charles Darwin University, contact the Katherine Campus on 1800 779 577.
Find out more about Katherine Campus.