WESTERN Australian College of Agriculture, Cunderdin's (WACOA) open day earlier this month was an opportunity for the college to put its student's achievements on display - not only for prospective students and parents, but also for prospective employers.
At the open day visitors and students at the college were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from Muresk Institute, Careers in Grain, Directions Workforce Solutions, AFGRI Equipment and Boekeman Machinery.
Principal Matt Dowell said the open day was well supported, with both country and city guests making the trip to Cunderdin to check out the school's facilities and enquire about their farm courses and trade certificates, which have proven very popular.
The college held its annual Poll Dorset Triple C ram sale in its old shearing shed and visitors were treated to sausage making demonstrations, beef jerky and cheese sausage samples at the butcher shop for a gold coin donation, as well as a Father's Day raffle and sausage sizzle.
A 'Guess the weight of the porker' competition was held at the college's piggery, which was recently replaced, and industry representatives displayed opportunities for future employment in the college's farm workshop area.
WACOA Cunderdin's 2022 student council members were announced and shearing and trades awards handed out to students, whose work was proudly displayed in the college's trades area.
Mr Dowell said the college had a "mixed bag" of students, which included those from the city or small towns who were interested in a trades pathway.
"The open day was a great opportunity for prospective students and their parents to come and have a look at our facilities and program offerings and talk about them possibly enrolling here in the future," Mr Dowell said.
"We also wanted to show visitors how we are developing the future workforce of our agricultural and trade industries."
Mr Dowell, who started his role as principal at the college in term four last year, said he felt he had come full circle, as he had completed an agricultural teaching degree in New South Wales when he first started out in the education sector.
"I hadn't worked at an agricultural college before here, but I've thoroughly enjoyed my first year as principal - it's a great region to live and we have great students," Mr Dowell said.
Looking forward, he said WACOA Cunderdin would "continue chipping away" at improving its student's learning environment and he was confident the college would be able to limit any future impacts of COVID-19 on its students.
"Since it all hit in March last year, there has been some good collaboration in the education sector and we obviously have our COVID response plans in place depending on what may or may not occur," Mr Dowell said.
"The pandemic has definitely had a real effect across all students, particularly when they're missing out on events like Country Week.
"When they don't have them it's a bit of a knock, so it's taken its toll, but they've been very resilient and we've been pretty lucky of late.
"I'm glad that the year 12s are nearly ready to wind up and that COVID hasn't impacted them too much this year in particular."
Currently 99 per cent of Cunderdin's 135 students board and spots at the college remain in high demand, with enrolments oversubscribed for next year.
Interviews for tear 11 students for 2023 are due to commence in term four.