South Coast woman changes focus from metal fab to farming

Natasha Groeneveld from Dapto is a boiler maker by trade but chasing her dream career studying agriculture at TAFE NSW Yallah and Nowra.
Natasha Groeneveld from Dapto is a boiler maker by trade but chasing her dream career studying agriculture at TAFE NSW Yallah and Nowra.

The working environments of a boiler maker and a farmer might be worlds apart, but for TAFE NSW agriculture student Natasha Groeneveld, they are inseparable.

Ms Groeneveld, a qualified metal fabricator, is studying Certificate III in Agriculture at TAFE NSW Yallah and Nowra and is working toward gaining the skills she needs to change careers from boiler maker to farmer.

The Dapto resident pursued training in agriculture because she liked the idea of working on the land and working with animals. And she has no qualms about transitioning from one male-dominated industry to another.

“I enrolled at TAFE NSW at the beginning of this year and I absolutely love it,” Ms Groeneveld said.

“I am enjoying learning how to work with livestock. The teacher is great at equipping us with the skills and knowledge we need  to work on a farm.”

Ms Groeneveld said one of the attractions to the agriculture industry was the variety it can offer.

“On a typical day we might learn how to work with tractors. The next day we might be learning how to apply chemicals to the crop we have established. After that we could be learning how to handle livestock.

“It’s very hands-on. We’ll do a day of theory at TAFE NSW Nowra and then two days at the working farm at TAFE NSW Yallah. It’s my style of learning.”

Agriculture will be Ms Groeneveld’s second TAFE NSW qualification. In 2012, she graduated from Certificate III in Engineering and Fabrication at TAFE NSW Wollongong and now works part time as a boiler maker.

While she hopes to leave the metal fabrication industry and follow a career on the land, her welding and engineering skills will come in handy on the farm.

“I’m already confident at animal handling, vaccinations, and working with the tractor,” Ms Groeneveld said.

“People at university learn so many things, but they often don’t get to apply them in the real world as they learn. They don’t experience physically doing the subject they’re learning about.

“That’s something I really like about TAFE NSW, you actually do the work you’re learning about.”

To explore options to help relaunch your career visit tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.

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