A four-day Taratahi taster course convinced at Sophie Osborne of Ohaupo farming was the career for her.
With a passion for agriculture since she was a small child, the former Hamilton Girls’ High School student chose to continue her education with Taratahi once finishing a four-day Taster Course in Masterton in October 2012.
Sophie Osborne is currently a student at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Putaruru, Waikato.
Sophie heard about the opportunity from her school careers advisor. She enjoyed the taster programme so much she enrolled in the Waikato campus’ Introduction to Farming Programme Level 2, which started February 2013.
“I really enjoyed the 23-week programme. It was a fantastic learning atmosphere – just like one big family,” says Sophie.
“For me, my day would begin at 6.30am and I would set off from Ohaupo at 7am to meet the Taratahi van in Te Awamutu at 7.30am.
“The long days made were worth it when I finished the programme with a Level 2 National Certificate in Agriculture (general skills), a Level 2 National Certificate in Agriculture (introductory) and was awarded top student.”
After finishing Level 2, Sophie decided to enrol back at Putaruru for the National Certificate in Agriculture Level 3 (work ready).
“Studying Level 3 at Taratahi is full-on; I often help milk 300 cows with Ashley Pennington in Kihikihi before the programme starts each day, so I’m up at 4.30am, then go to meet the Taratahi van in Kihikihi at 7.30am.
“I’m home at 5.30pm, it really makes you get used to the reality of working a long day,” says Sophie.
“I love going to campus each day and being on the go all the time; sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge, but it is a case of being disciplined and making sure you get enough sleep each night.”
Sophie is about to begin work experience on a stud farm and she sees genetics as an area she’d like to explore more.
She believes her interest in genetics has developed as a result of what she’s learned at Taratahi.
“I passed science at school, but it wasn’t my strongest subject. Despite that I still loved it and now see the connection between science and agriculture in a practical nature every day.
“Seeing it all in context on-farm basis has helped me make the decision on where I see my future heading.”
Sophie says she now has a better understanding of how agriculture works, not just on-farm, but the industry as a whole.
This, she believes, is down to her Level 2 tutor Bob Orr and her Level 3 tutor Malcolm Downey and support of Taratahi Waikato.
Participation in the programmes has helped Sophie build her confidence in everyday life and she’s made life-long friendships along the way.
Sophie now plans to go to university – her motto is ‘always learning, always improving’ and Taratahi looks forward to supporting her on her exciting journey.