Having grown up on a North Island dairy farm, Bayley Coates already knew the dairying lifestyle of early mornings and routines revolving around the cows wasn’t of interest to her. However, there were some aspects from her agricultural upbringing she valued, especially stock work and animal husbandry.
After a friend went to Telford and enjoyed his experience, Bayley decided to book in and travel down south to check out a Telford Taster Camp, with the intention of looking into the sheep and beef side of agriculture. What she found out during that week was to her liking, and she enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture the following year.
Given Bayley’s rural upbringing, she says she wasn’t ‘green’ when it came to agriculture, but what the Telford programme provided was a far broader knowledge base. She learnt so much more about all aspects of agriculture, including subjects such as genetics, different types of fencing, water systems, and agronomy.
One of the major benefits of the shift south to Telford was “meeting new people for sure!”, said Bayley. Another experience highly rated by many students are the work placements as part of the practical requirement of the course and Bayley valued these as well.
“Coming from Northland, I was well out of my comfort zone, knowing next to no-one. However, being able to travel around South Otago, working on different properties, was an incredible opportunity to meet the community I had moved into,” she explained.
A second year at Telford saw Bayley complete a New Zealand Diploma in Agriculture. After graduating, she achieved her first job as a Junior Shepherd at Carterhope Estate, a property south of Balclutha. In the three-and-a-half years spent there, Bayley said she was privileged to work her way up through the ranks to attain the role of Stock Manager. Now managing a dry stock property on the Clutha river, between Balclutha and Clinton, Bayley says she loves her work.
Stating her Telford qualification has already helped so much, as it’s enabled her to move up the employment ladder with more speed, Bayley’s long-term goal is to acquire and manage her own property.
“Completing two years at Telford has been instrumental in me being able to pursue a career in agriculture, as it has given me the practical skills needed for the job, and also the theory skills needed to be able to get into management.”