In 2021, Daniel McDonald decided to take on Certificate II in Agriculture as a VET subject with SuniTafe while also studying Year 11 VCE. Later in the year, the Northern Mallee LLEN SWL Coordinator, Dale Harvey, was invited to present on School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) at Murrayville Community College by the school’s principal, Natasha Mudie. Alongside Sonia Inglis, Murrayville AG VETDSS Teacher, Dale introduced the Northern Mallee LLEN School-Employer Engagement Program to students, parents, and employers with a specific focus on SBATs. The school was planning to commence three SBATs in Agriculture in 2022, and Dale presented the concept in detail, including the employment commitment, Training Contract requirements, Training Program requirements, and responsibilities of all stakeholders.
Angela Wait (Apprenticeship Coordinator) from Longerenong Agricultural College, a Registered Training Organisation also spoke as a Guest Speaker, discussing the Training Program and block release attendance model proposed for an SBAT from Murrayville Community College enrolled in a Certificate III in Agriculture.
Since starting the SBAT in January 2022, Daniel has been well-supported through the program by the school, his parents, his employer, and Skills Invest. The Northern Mallee LLEN also provides ongoing SBAT support to Murrayville Community College for the student.
With a passion for farming and growing up on the family farm at Lyndon Park Pastoral, Daniel and his parents decided that a School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) in Certificate III in Agriculture, AHC 30116, would be the perfect career pathway for him while he undertook Year 12 VCE in 2022.
Through the Northern Mallee LLEN School-Employer Engagement Program, Daniel was placed with his employer, Glenda McDonald, Executive Officer at Lyndon Park Pastoral, and enrolled with the Registered Training Organisation, Skills Invest (Longerenong Agricultural College) for his SBAT.
The SBAT integrated into Daniel’s VCE study program, which included the school component of the training in applying chemicals, such as the proper use of drench for sheep and backliners for lice protection on sheep, as well as the ability to work in groups and communicate effectively in a team-based learning environment at Longerenong Agricultural College.
Daniel found the SBAT to be a great balance between school, study, and work, allowing him to complete his Year 12 VCE while developing his skills and knowledge as a farmer. Despite some challenges in scheduling work requirements around his study program, Daniel managed to successfully complete his Certificate III in Agriculture while working towards his goal of becoming a fifth-generation farmer on the family farm.
Overall, the SBAT helped set up a clear career pathway into farming for Daniel through the study program and work requirements, while providing a good learning balance for him. He believes the emphasis on the study side of the SBAT is essential, as it allows him to refer to the work environment. Daniel highly recommends an SBAT for students interested in gaining practical skills and knowledge while completing their studies.
“Due to the lack of an auspicing arrangement, VETDSS in Agriculture couldn’t be offered at Murrayville Community College in 2022. However, an opportunity to continue offering Agriculture as an SBAT (Structured Workplace Learning) through Longerenong Agricultural College at Certificate II, III, and IV levels has been identified. The school has received positive feedback from Longerenong Agricultural College, employers, and Northern Mallee LLEN about the feasibility of this program for students. The success of the SBAT program has increased confidence in the community and renewed employer confidence in local students. Students are able to transfer knowledge from learning at Longerenong Agricultural College to the workplace, and this has been well-received by employers.
It’s important to note that while the SBAT program can provide valuable experience and opportunities, it requires good time management skills between school, Longerenong Agricultural College, and employer commitments. The program is challenging, and the student must balance their studies, training, and work commitments. Despite the difficulties, the program can be rewarding and develop students’ confidence.”
“As a student in the SBAT program in Agriculture, I have found the experience of working on a farm to be invaluable. It has given me the opportunity to gain practical experience in the industry. I am grateful for the support of my employer and the school, which has been essential in helping me to complete the requirements of the program. The program has also allowed me to develop new skills and gain confidence in my abilities.
Attending Longerenong Agricultural College has been a highlight of the program for me. Learning from experienced professionals in the field has been invaluable, and I have gained insights and knowledge that I can apply to my future career as a farmer. I am also excited about the prospect of continuing my education at the college, such as by taking a wool classing course or pursuing a Certificate IV in Agriculture. Overall, the program has given me a great balance between school, study, and work. I enjoy coming to school, completing schoolwork, seeing my friends, and then going to work and attending Longerenong Agricultural College. It has been a good learning balance for me, and I am confident that I will be able to successfully complete Year 12 VCE and obtain my Certificate III in Agriculture while developing as a farmer.”
Daniel McDonald has now completed his Certificate III in Agriculture and obtained his VCE in 2022.
He is continuing his employment in the Agricultural field.