AGRICULTURE ENTHUSIAST: Year 9 St Brendan's College boarder Bryce Voll.
AGRICULTURE ENTHUSIAST: Year 9 St Brendan's College boarder Bryce Voll. Contributed

St Brendan's College boarder Bryce has beef in his blood

BRYCE Voll, the boy with beef in his blood, has his eyes set on one goal - a career in agriculture.

Bryce, a Year 9 boarder at St Brendan's College, Yeppoon, is a valuable member of the college's Cattle Club and Rodeo Club and is enjoying learning new things in his agriculture subject as part of his studies.

While not currently living on a property, Bryce's family has a long association with rural industry having lived in Oakey, Normanton and now Cloncurry.

It's given him a love for agriculture, which he is extending at his new home away from home.

Now in the midst of regional Queensland's show season, Bryce and his Cattle Club teammates are often on the road on weekends undertaking Junior Parading, Led Steers and Junior Judging at regional shows, and with the College's Cattle Club in growth phase Bryce will be one of the first to show St Brendan's College-bred cattle during 2019 show season.

So far this season Bryce and his team have competed at The Caves and Taroom Shows, with Callide Valley show in Biloela and Ridgelands next up on their program.

"I got a few firsts last year with led steers and went in Junior Parading, and I enjoy that because you are being judged on how you present your cattle, rather than on your cattle,” he said.

"You learn how to walk, how to hold your cane, you learn how to present your cattle better and how to present yourself better.

"I've always liked cattle and working with cattle, and now Year 9 agriculture has given me an opportunity to learn new things about farming - the germination process of plants, testing what conditions are better to grow plants in.

Three years in as a boarder at St Brendan's College, Bryce has certainly taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to him.

Studying core English, history, mathematics, science and religion, Bryce most enjoys his time in his elective agriculture and metal technology classes, as well as his significant extra-curricular activities.

"I'm a member of the Rodeo Club, and while I'm not the best I enjoy riding steers,” he said.

"I hope to try out for footy again this year. I'm enjoying agriculture and metal work at school, and I really enjoy going to shows with Cattle Club.

"We camp out under a tent in our swags, we get to meet a lot of other students from other schools and this year we've got quite a few new students who've joined Cattle Club.

With a significant cohort of young men with agriculture on their mind, St Brendan's College offers agriculture within the curriculum from Year 8.

Korbin McDonald and Head of Agriculture, Mr Bill Oram.
Korbin McDonald and Head of Agriculture, Bill Oram. Contributed

Head of Agriculture, Bill Oram, is adamant that while the college's agriculture offering is a positive for those who come from rural backgrounds, it is the students without an existing awareness of agriculture that benefit and make for a bright future for the industry.

"To be honest, those students who have a strong understanding of agriculture, the ones who can go home on holidays and earn a man's wage are at a slight disadvantage as they come into our classes with a significant pool of knowledge - but that's okay as we use them as leaders in the classroom,” Mr Oram said.

"There are plenty of people who don't have the family history on the land that are very successful in agriculture, and sometimes I would argue they can be even more successful as they aren't held back by tradition and are often open to change, and to innovation.

"Our agriculture class is clear evidence there is a bright future for agriculture, not just from those with a strong family connection with the land, but those whose interest and passion is spiked when they have the opportunity here to learn and be exposed to all the industry has to offer.”

Changes in the agriculture space at St Brendan's College in 2019 will also allow for a wider range of choice for students interested in agriculture as a career.

"With changes in Queensland with the implementation of the ATAR system, we are excited to offer agriculture as a general subject for our Year 11 students in 2020,” Mr Oram said.

"There are a lot of agriculture students in that cohort and we want to be able to give them the opportunity to extend themselves in agriculture, not only in the Vocational Education and Training space with our Rural Operations Certificates, but in the classroom to learn and see the pathways available in agriculture.”

St Brendan's College offers students access to agricultural studies through Year 8 and 9 as an elective subject, Year 10 Certificate I in Agrifoods, Year 11 and 12 Certificate II in Rural Operations.

The College will offer Year 11 Agriculture as a general ATAR subject in 2020.