Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW student's success in animal therapy

TAFE NSW graduate Layla Stace has found her dream job working in animal therapy as an Arena Hand at Horses Inspiring Humans in Hyndmans Creek.

Layla completed a Certificate ll Rural Operations (Equine Focus) at TAFE NSW Taree in 2021 and is proud to be helping people in the community to improve behavioral and mental health outcomes. As part of her role, Layla facilitates sessions with young children and leads horses.

“I count myself lucky that I get to help people every day while spending time with horses. TAFE NSW gave me the practical skills I needed and get into the industry faster.”

Horses inspiring Humans use horses as a way to help people cope with and recover from physical and mental health conditions. Goals of this form of therapy including helping people develop skills such as emotional regulation, self-confidence, and responsibility.

TAFE NSW Agribusiness Head Teacher Geoff Lee said among other things, the course teaches students a range of horse handling techniques and to understand horse behaviour.

“There are so many opportunities to make a difference in a rewarding agricultural career, Layla is a great example of a student who has undertaken an agriculture course as a pathway to pursue her passion of helping people. Our skills-based courses allow graduates to hit the ground running in local industries and stay living and working in regional areas,” Mr Turner said.

“Many of our agricultural sectors across NSW are experiencing major skills shortages, so there is currently an opportunity to choose from a diverse range of careers.”

An increasing focus on animal welfare and a boom in pet ownership catalysed by COVID-19 stay at home restrictions, has resulted in the country seeing a bolstering of the pet ownership and care sector.

Horses Inspiring Humans owner Deb O’Malley said Layla brings a wealth of knowledge to the business.

“Layla is a highly valued staff member and is a testament to the quality of training at TAFE NSW.”

The Certificate ll in Rural Operations is a fully government-subsidised JobTrainer course. To explore the range of agribusiness courses available at TAFE NSW and via TAFE Digital, visit or phone 131 601 for more information.  

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,