DESPITE not being from a farming family, Kellerberrin local Courtney Garlett has taken a strong interest in the agricultural community.
The 18-year-old is currently completing her year 12 studies at the WA College of Agriculture – Cunderdin.
Attending Kellerberrin District High School until year 7, then studying at Merredin College until year 10, Courtney made the decision to study at the Cunderdin ag college so she could undertake certificate courses while getting her ATAR.
While excelling at her studies, the go-getter also wants to be a good role model for other young Aboriginal people and have a successful career in agriculture.
“Coming from a country town, agriculture had a big influence on the members of the community,” Courtney said.
She started studying at Cunderdin last year.
“Having friends on farms in the Wheatbelt sparked my interest in agriculture and I have found there are many different opportunities on offer in the industry,” Courtney said.
“I first came to the WA College of Agriculture – Cunderdin without a clear direction of where I was heading but I thought that the ability to do certificates in Agriculture, Trades and get an ATAR studying at the college would give me the best opportunity for my future.
“I always knew I would be in ag somewhere because of the influence it had on my community.”
Courtney represented WA at the National Merino Challenge 2018 in Adelaide, South Australia, in March, and while the team didn’t win she said they learnt more about the industry.
“I learnt about AWI (Australian Wool Innovation) and what they do for agriculture,” she said.
“Their innovations and technology make it easier for farmers and also I took an interest in the genetics.”
Courtney has also been announced as a finalist in the 2018 WA Training Awards which recognises outstanding apprentices, trainees, students and trainers across WA.
She is one of four finalists in the WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year 2018 category.
“I applied for the training awards thinking I didn’t have too much of a chance,” she said.
“Then I was called up for an interview where I was asked how I demonstrated leadership skills.
“From there I was announced as a semi-finalist and I was shocked.”
College VET co-ordinator and deputy principal Travis Hooper said Courtney’s efforts and hard work to make it to the finals were a credit to her and her family.
“All of us at the college will be wishing her the best of luck on the awards night,” Mr Hooper said.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said the training system provided Western Australians with a chance to change their future.
“It allows employers to up skill existing employees to address skills gaps as the State’s economy grows and diversifies,” Ms Ellery said.
“The WA Training Awards shine a spotlight on the benefits of VET and inspire others to take advantage of the high-quality training available in WA, ensuring they are best placed to take on the jobs of the future.”
The 2018 WA Training Award winners will be announced later this month at a ceremony.
Courtney, alongside class mate James Thomas, will be representing WA in the AWI Development Squad for Wool Handling at the IGA Perth Perth Royal Show from Saturday, September 22.
After graduating Courtney is keen to pursue a career in an agriculture related industry, working with and developing new technologies.
“Technology like GPS mapping and artificial insemination that were only done by a few people 10 years ago are now standard across the industry,” she said.
“There are various pathways and careers opening up in agriculture all the time.”
As well as keeping herself busy with her studies Courtney finds time to play sport, enjoying netball with her college team mates, as well as in a local weekend competition.
She also enjoys Country Week sporting commitments during the year.