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St Ives resident, Emily Southey, made the courageous decision to literally put in the hard yards while studying an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management online with TAFE NSW. Add to this working full-time to establish a successful stable hand business called Southey and Co and mentoring other students - all by the young age of 20.
Ms Southey completed the course within 16 months, well ahead of the two year course schedule. “I knew this course would be perfect for me because it was an excellent follow-up to agriculture and business, which were my favourite subjects in years 11 and 12,” she said. “I am passionate about agriculture as without it the world won’t turn!”
The agribusiness industry sector is a significant employer in regional Australia. Nationally, more than 169,000 agricultural businesses provide jobs for around 432,000 people.*
Beside the desire to help people through providing food and products to meet their basic needs, Ms Southey thrives on working in the great outdoors with animals. “Starting a stable hand business at 18 has been my best achievement to date,” said Ms Southey. “I have many Northside equestrian contacts and provide services in areas like Terrey Hills, Duffys Forest and Ingleside.”
Ms Southey’s love of working with horses is evident in the growth of her business. “Word of mouth recommendations have been tremendous and I’ve even had to start knocking back work, so I’m definitely reaping the benefits for the hard yards put in,” she said.
Ms Southey particularly enjoyed the agribusiness related finance subjects like managing farming sustainability; planning and analysis; business, rural enterprise and people management. “This was a good way to help learn the basics of running a stable hand business and also helped me with my maths tutoring,” she said. “On a lighter note, I learnt the ground rules of how to manage my personal budget as well.”
Ms Southey decided to study agribusiness online from her suburban home in Sydney. “This may seem to be a weird choice, but the teachers were incredibly supportive,” she said. “They subtly pushed me when I needed it and gave me 24/7 support via virtual classes, chat rooms, email and were at the other end of the phone when I called.”
Completing the agribusiness course was an excellent segway to Ms Southey continuing her studies even further. “I am currently studying a Bachelor of Community Services through TAFE Digital to be able to become a mental health facilitator in a rural setting,” she said. “Added to the farming practices I am continually learning about, I plan to assist communities with practical initiatives in regional environments.”
*Source: Skills Impact 2016, Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Industry Sector IRC Work Plan 2016-2019, p.5.
Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media Business Partner: M 0417 134 048