This year we welcomed two young school leavers to our farming team as part of the AgCareerStart program run by National Farmers’ Federation. This unique gap-year program helps school leavers kick start a career in agriculture.

Skyla Robinson McEvoy and Lily Smith relocated to the NSW south coast for a job placement at our busy Narooma oyster farm. Both Skyla and Lily are new to farming and are keen to see whether an aquaculture career is for them. If they decide to continue with oyster farming after their gap-year, they have a permanent job with AOC that includes formal aquaculture qualifications.

“If you’re 17-25, this unique gap-year program gives you the opportunity to get paid while gaining on-farm experience and making industry connections through a fully supported program,” said AgCAREERSTART Project Manager Kayla Evans.

Applicants choose the farm type they’d prefer to work in and where in Australia they’d ideally like to go. A matching process is then undertaken to ensure participants are assigned to the type of farms that match their interests and skills explains Ms Evans.

In this case, Skyla and Lily both chose aquaculture and were matched with us.

“As host farmers we get access to a national labour market of interested young people willing to relocate to regional areas to work on our oyster farms,” said Australia’s Oyster Coast CEO Devin Watson.

“It also challenges us as an employer to look at our programs and how we contribute to the future of Australia’s agricultural workforce,” said Mr Watson.

You can follow Skyla and Lily's gap-year journey on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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