​Station hand school is in

A two-week Jillaroo/Jackaroo course run by Rural Training Australia at Muresk Institute attracted students from as far as Broome and Fitzroy, keen to learn the skills needed to work in an outback pastoral environment.

Twelve young people, ranging in age from 16 to 24 learned about health and safety, mustering, moving and handling livestock, animal industry welfare requirements, installing, maintaining and repairing fencing and operating motorbikes over the 10 days.

Instructor and livestock specialist Boyd Holden said for the first time Year 11 students from Clontarf Aboriginal College took part in the course.

“Three of the four Clontarf students were from remote locations,” he said. “Most of the group are still in secondary school, and most are trying to work out their career options.

“The course gave them all a chance to gain new skills and learn about the different career paths available in agriculture.

“We’ve been handling sheep and cattle, learning about quad and two-wheeled motorbikes, and mustering and moving livestock. It has also been great to be able to use the onsite horses and piggery at Muresk Institute for the animal welfare units.

“Over the weekend we also visited the Muchea saleyards to take a look at different breeds of animals.”

Mr Holden said gaining life skills and taking responsibility for themselves were also part of the live-in course.

“As well as getting up very early, the group had a go at cooking their own breakfast and dinner a couple of times,” he said.

Muresk Institute General Manager Prue Jenkins said the only prerequisites for the course were a good attitude, the ability to work hard and a desire to work in remote locations across Australia.

“We need more trained station hands in remote and rural WA and this course helps fill that need,” she said.

On successful completion of the Jillaroo/Jackaroo course students receive a statement of attainment for the various units, which can be used towards a Certificate II in Agriculture if they wish to take their studies further.