Student overcomes fear through study

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Ryan Hall is a recent graduate of the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems). Unlike many students who enrol in this programme, he began the course with a fear of cows. Growing up close to Ravensdown, Ryan fell in love with heavy machinery at a young age.

“I had decided from a young age that when I grew up, I wanted to drive a wheel track loader for Ravensdown. I knew where I wanted to go but not how to get there,” he said. For Ryan his future plans didn’t quite work out for him. “I left school in 2020 to get a job and start my life, but this just didn’t go to plan. It was my Nan who knew one of the staff here at WITT, and suggested that maybe we should get in contact with them to see if they could help me out.”

Ryan’s Nan arranged a meeting with Secondary Tertiary Pathways manager Ben Naughton. Ben worked with Ryan to determine a set of goals and opportunities. Goal one was for Ryan to get his license, with he has now successfully done. Goal two enrol in the Agriculture course, and goal three work with machinery.

“I have always loved machinery. I began my journey with WITT in March 2021 and enrolled into the New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industries Operational Skills (Level 3) with Optional strands in Specialist Equipment and Infrastructure, which gave me the chance to drive tractors” he said. After Ryan finished this programme in July, he decided to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems) to tick off two of his three goals. For Ryan, this meant he couldn’t hide behind his love for machinery anymore.

Adrian Edser - Agriculture and Primary Industries tutor, said that Ryan was very nervous the first time he went on a farm.

“The first time he went out on the farm, a cow flicked its tail and Ryan was 30 metres away and still running in seconds. I knew I had to set a challenge for him, so I told him each day he had to try something new,” he said. Ryan was very unsure about working with animals when he first began the agriculture course.

“ I was pretty scared at first. I was worried about the cows charging; they can weigh 500-800kg which made me nervous. I had a buddy with me the first time I picked up a calf, once I did it the first time, I began to come to my senses. I was really proud of myself and decided I could do it again,” he said.

While Ryan was studying the Agriculture course, we went into a short lock-down in August, which meant that he was not able to get out on the farm for a few weeks.

“All I kept thinking about in lockdown was how much I wanted to get back out there, be on the farm; farming had really grown on me. I lacked confidence and thought about the consequences too much, but Adrian helped me become comfortable and built my confidence and passion,” he said. For Adrian, students like Ryan are the reason he does his job.

“Ryan was as quiet as a mouse in the beginning, the shy kid always hanging in the back. He has come out of his shell so much, driving, made friends and 1000% more confident. He’s the type of student I love training as he listened to everything I’ve said, he just needed someone to help him and support his character. To me, Ryan is a kid I’d say matches the old saying hire for attitude and train for skill.”

Ryan had some advice to future students who may also be scared or hesitant about study.

“When you’re apprehensive about something, trust yourself and don’t know back. You’ve got this. If the past me can do it, then anyone out there that has felt the same about doing something new can definitely do it to,” he said. “I would love to give a shout to Adrian and Peter my tutors and all of my classmates. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support, I’m now ready to go out there and take on the real world.” 

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