With five generations of farmers in his family, Richard White always expected to follow in the family tradition and carve out a career on the land.
Spending his early childhood on the 260 hectare family cattle stud, Ayrvale Farm, in Windermere, west of Ballarat, Richard, 25, didn't think of any other option, but a twist of fate saw his family abandon the land when Richard was 10-years-old.
Moving into new environs, Richard finished his schooling and took up academic studies in a completely different field, graduating from university with a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering. He had always tinkered with machinery on the stud and enjoyed working with his hands and engineering seemed like another suitable career.
But in 2003, his parents moved back to the farm, and two years later, Richard decided to follow his adolescent dream to work on the land and started Ayrvale Angus Stud.
In 2006, he enrolled in the Diploma of Agriculture at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) part-time while working full-time at the Ford Motor Company in Campbellfield as an engineer.
Now, the Mill Park/Windermere resident has won an annual $2000 Coca Cola regional scholarship awarded in partnership with The Australian Council of Agricultural Societies (ACAS).
As a member of the Ballarat Agricultural & Pastoral Society, which runs the Annual Ballarat Show that celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006, and studying agriculture at NMIT, Richard was eligible for the scholarship which is awarded to young people with career aspirations relating to the field of agriculture.
'I certainly didn't expect to win the scholarship and it was exciting when I got the call to say I'd won,' Richard said. ' The scholarship supports the grassroots of the agricultural industry and the money will go towards operating costs of the farm which I run with my father, Rod.'
He added that one of his main goals was to try and encourage young people like himself to become involved in agriculture and to join the Ballarat Agricultural & Pastoral Society committees such as the cattle committee, which he is a member of.
'Agriculture forms a vital part of the economy for the Ballarat region and we need to maintain this by encouraging young people to invest and be part of the industry and its organisations.'
While times have been tough with the drought, Richard said working on the land was still his passion, whereby he could combine his engineering skills to maintain and operate machinery with the new knowledge and skills he was acquiring at NMIT.
'I can now improve the efficiency of our farming operation and enrolled at NMIT to learn the latest agricultural industry trends in cattle, pastures and cropping etc. I now have a good mix of skills and am pursuing the dream I always wanted.'
Richard added that with his family's strong history in Ballarat, he looked forward to the opportunity to keep the tradition going.
'Farming's just in my blood and I also enjoy the fresh air and the lifestyle on the land. As your own boss, it can be demanding, but seeing calves and crops while working outdoors; well, there's no better feeling on the planet.'
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.