Q&A with Northland farm intern Ellee

// Staff and Training

Ellee is completing her Level 3 New Zealand Certificate of Agriculture through Whangarei A&P Society’s Farm Intern programme whilst working on a farm in Northland.

image of girl on quad

She wasn’t brought up on a farm but became interested in a farming career through a careers roadshow which was encouraged by family, friends and her careers advisor.

Below, Ellee tells us more about what it has been like studying whilst working on farm and what is next for the 17-year-old. 

As part of its People and Training workstream, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) supports the Farm Intern programme amongst other similar initiatives.

What made you want to get your Level 3 in Agriculture?

Initially, my interest was sparked through a stand at a local Careers Roadshow and my school career advisor was really encouraging. When I decided I wanted to get into farming, my parents thought a Level 3 in Agriculture would be good for my career path.  My boyfriend is also working on his parents’ farm.

What is your favourite thing about living and working on farm?

I really enjoy working with animals even though sometimes they can be difficult. Also, every day is different and there’s so much variety in farming. All the tasks I get to do are interesting. 

What is the most important thing you have learnt so far this year?

It has been really cool learning more about the maintenance of machinery like quad bikes and tractors. I have learnt a lot about this part of farming this year. I’ve also learned how to ride a quad bike safely and I’m really keen to do more of this plus more sheep shearing! 

How have you found your work placement?

I am really enjoying my farm placement. A big shoutout to Mack, my Farm Manager who is really good. He always asks me questions about what I am doing and why. Because of him and his farm I feel I am ahead of the other interns. He teaches me a lot about animal welfare. I am looking forward to learning more about this in future courses. I've found I really enjoy the calf rearing side of farming.

Mack’s farm has been excellent as a first farm and I'm grateful for what he's taught me this year. But to broaden my experience and improve in a different way, I'm moving to a farm where there will be more hands-on work with regard to everyday stock management. One of the skills I need to improve is using a dog on farm which I will be able to do more on my next farm. I have also been reschooling Mack’s dog, Tai, and through the Farm Intern Programme, I have been getting help with dog training from local dog trialist Shaun Haynes. I will also have the chance to start with a new dog next year.

Tell us about your favourite animal? 

I like all the animals on the farm. I find the deer interesting; they are very different to the sheep and cattle. But I have to say my favourite animal is my horse, Chester.  

Would you recommend the Farm Intern Programme to others?

Yes absolutely, I have already told others about it. It has been great being able to put my theory into practice straight away on-farm.  

More about the Whangārei A&P Farm Intern programme

The programme takes a flexible approach. Some interns are living and working on farm, while others are commuting. Some start out on a training wage, while others are being employed fulltime at full pay from day one. 

About the Whangārei A&P Society

Whangārei Agricultural & Pastoral Society is a not for profit, charitable organisation who is passionate about linking rural and urban. It is a well-established and respected local business with over 200 members. 

Most widely known for the annual A&P show in Whangārei which has been held since the late 1860’s, the Society has a keen interest in supporting the training and development of young people in the agricultural industry. For 17 years an annual scholarship had been awarded to young people studying in the industry and last year the Society offered two scholarships to Northlanders for the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.

girl shearing sheep

image of girl wtih sheepimage of girl wtth tractorgirl on quad