Chrismari Venter - New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) Rural Animal Technician
Publish Date: Friday, 23 February 2024
Chrismari Venter - New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) Rural Animal Technician

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) Rural Animal Technician

#Graduate #Telford #Agriculture #Student Profile #Telford Graduate #Vet Nursing #Telford Alumni

Chrismari Venter recalls from her South African childhood she wanted to be a vet or a farmer, having been influenced by visits to the farms of family friends. “We moved to New Zealand in 2019 and I was 15, turning 16 ... the time for me to choose what to do with the rest of my life was close,” says Chrismari.

In year 11 at high school, Chrismari took Telford papers through Gateway and distance learning, to learn more about what farming actually entailed. In year 13, the careers advisor advised Chrismari to go to Lincoln University, so she enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme and got accepted. “Knowing I was heading to study agriculture and didn't have any experience I was a bit panicked and scared that I might not do as well as I would have liked too,” she admits.

But a chance meeting through a family friend changed everything. Chrismari met a Telford tutor who happened to take the ‘Vet Tech’ course – the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) Rural Animal Technician.

“ ... he told me all about it, he later gave me and Dad a tour of Telford ... I felt like I had to sign up instantly. Telford had all the things that I was looking for: theory work, practical work, ... It seemed like the ideal place to gain experience and meet people in the industry.”

Chrismari enrolled at Telford and entered her studies with more confidence. “I expected it to be the best place for me to gain practical skills (not just sit in class all day), learn more about farming, being a ‘vet tech’ and just to have fun,” she says. 

Telford definitely exceeded all my expectations and more. We did a ton of practical work, [tutors] were patient with us when teaching, the effort that went into our course planning was amazing.”

Chrismari lists the “heaps of practical skills” - animal anatomy, common diseases and symptoms, clinical examinations on cows and horses, animal behaviour, milking dairy cows, and equine hoof care, including some seasonal jobs: disbudding, teat sealing, metrichecking, and recording pregnancy scanning data. 

During assigned terms, students helped Telford Farms staff with various tasks, such as moving stock, break fencing, and drenching and vaccinating cows, calves and horses. “What was nice about Telford was the theory part we would get taught in class, and soon after, we would go out and actually practice what we’d been taught, [to] understand it,” says Chrismari. “Coming out of the course I feel like I have the skills and knowledge to step into a job confidently and learn even more,” she adds.

Chrismari’s biggest hurdles came from being relatively new to New Zealand. The language barrier - she’s bilingual (English and Afrikaans) – meant unfamiliar words, questions, and the writing style for assessments, were all challenges. “ ... I had all the help in the world from my tutors and I knew there was no shame in asking for help,“ she says.

The most rewarding aspect of Telford has been the significant friendships made, which will go with Chrismari in life beyond Telford. She was also grateful that tutors made the effort “to get to know me and understand how I learn ... seeing my real self,” she explained.

Telford shows you your strengths and weaknesses. Even weaknesses, they give you an opportunity to work on and make them strengths.” In the Telford environment students are encouraged to help each other.

”The practical skills I’ve learnt ... are insane,” says Chrismari. Work experience on Telford Farms and through Clutha Vets really pays off. “I didn’t shy away from it, I got stuck in... Telford has shown me my work ethic can get me a long way ... when I get into a job, I like to get it done and get it done properly.” 

At graduation Chrismari was awarded the 2023 best all-round student in her programme. “I didn’t actually expect it at all ... it meant so much – all my hard work, all the questions I asked... It was a great honour.”  Chrismari was particularly pleased because the vets who supervised them for work experience had input, so students were receiving real-world feedback. 

Back at Telford in 2024, Chrismari will continue her studies with the Massey Diploma in Agriculture, and believes the extra year will open more doors to fit her numerous plans.

“I really want to go overseas and work with wild life and in agriculture... I would love to work on a stud farm.” Chrismari could also work in AI (an Artificial Insemination Technician), and of course, she’d like to work with vets, using her ‘vet tech’ skills and qualification. “Mum and Dad have always taught me to do my best,” she says, and it’s an attitude which will take her far.