13 April 2023
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How Emma's dream Ag career became a reality

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time. To now see this as a reality is just amazing”

Emma Somerville with NSW DPI Wollongbar farm manager Michael Beaumont standing in front of a mob of cattle.

The dream of living and working out west has now become a reality for 19-year-old Emma Somerville thanks to a chance encounter at high school.

In early 2023, the former Lismore Trinity Catholic College student bid farewell to the Northern Rivers to begin a new chapter of her life working on a large broadacre cropping enterprise on the NSW central-western plains.

“Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to get out there,” she said.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time. To now see this as a reality and work full time in agriculture is just amazing,” she said.

Ms Somerville said her life might have taken a different path had she not come across a school-based traineeship run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“I was originally planning to become a vet nurse because there weren’t any agricultural avenues directly available through my school,” she said.

Northern Rivers resident Emma Somerville kneeling in front of an angus steer

“But then I suddenly heard about this school-based agriculture traineeship, and I knew it was the right choice for me, so I went for it.”

After successfully enrolling in the course, Ms Somerville, along with three other students from the Northern Rivers region, attended the Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute one day a week, learning every aspect of the agricultural sector. After completing the course, Ms Somerville transferred to a full-time trainee position.

“I’d grown up with cropping and hay making, so to have the chance to work with cattle for the first time and be part of a major project like Southern Multi Breed, was an eye-opener,” she said.

“To be able to see first-hand how ovarian scanning of cattle is done or helping out with calf marking was such a great experience I’ll never forget.”

However, the desire to go out west was never too far from Ms Somerville’s mind. Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait long. In early 2023, Ms Somerville secured a full-time position working in broadacre cropping at Coonamble, NSW.

“I look back over the last two years and think where my life could have gone had I not given this traineeship a go,” she said.

“If you’re looking into agriculture as a career but not sure where to start, I’d definitely apply for the school-based traineeship through DPI. It’s such a good starting point for your career and opens you up to the hundreds of different jobs you can have in agriculture.”

Click for more information about the NSW DPI school-based traineeship