Victoria Madgwick loved her first year at Telford so much she came back the following year and completed another programme, giving her two qualifications in two years. It’s turned out to be savvy decision for the recently promoted Stock Manager, giving her an excellent grounding for her career in farming.
She started out by enrolling in the Diploma of Rural Veterinary Technicians (RVT) course and chose Telford due to the agricultural focus the institution has, as well as one of the only universities/polytechnics in NZ that offered the RVT course with such a high level of practical content. Victoria said there were lots of opportunities to do practical technician work on the Telford farm and students were able to go to local farms and clinics for work placements.
She learned how to assist a vet with large animals, and in all different on-farm situations. From the theory of anatomy and physiology, diseases, animal health, breeds, production and reproduction, to the practical technician jobs such as vaccinating, blood testing, managing lameness, teatsealing, disbudding, and calving/assisting with reproductive jobs, some surgical procedures, and carrying out different types of testing.
Victoria said it was an awesome course and lots of fun, she learnt so much from it. She’s found the the knowledge gained is useful and always relevant in her day-to-day work. Though she doesn’t work as a Veterinary Technician, it’s an added skill set to have good animal health knowledge and practices when farming.
Having really enjoyed the first year of study but still not sure what she wanted to do as a job, in year two Victoria changed tack and went back to learn more but from the farming perspective, by completing the Diploma of Agriculture. She said the smaller class sizes and one-on-one teacher student time was a big bonus in this course.
In the Diploma of Agriculture, Victoria learnt such a variety of information about every aspect of the farming industry. From the fundamentals of soils, plants, animal health, and engineering to the business end: structure and planning, finances, and the industry as a whole (markets and trading). She said “It was definitely a worthwhile course that you can take a lot from”.
Victoria says the most rewarding thing she took away from her time at Telford was the knowledge and practical skills learnt over the two years and two courses. Also rating highly, the friendships gained with other students and the tutors are connections she says have lasted, and opened up whole other networks of like-minded people.
Like many graduates who go straight into employment on a farm, learning how to train her own working dog has been really beneficial now Victoria’s in the workforce. She said the reward of being able to go directly to work with dogs she had put time and effort into, was highly satisfying. Plus, those training techniques and tips learned at Telford are skills that have stayed with her and will be used throughout her career.
After leaving Telford at the end of 2018, Victoria began work as a Junior Shepherd on Lynmore farm, a sheep, beef, and deer farm in Te Anau. This year she was given the opportunity to step up into the role of Stock Manager of the farm’s finishing unit. “I think the study I did definitely helped me get to where I am today especially as I was brought up on a dairy farm and didn't have much sheep and beef knowledge before Telford. As well as this I use the knowledge from my qualifications everyday during my job”.
Her qualifications have helped her step into this new role, which has in turn, enabled her to achieve the main goal of getting experience in the sheep and beef industry and working towards management. Victoria says despite what she’s already learned from studying and shepherding, there is still a lot more to learn. Future career goals for her now include gaining more experience and continuing to upskill in management and eventually farm management and ownership.