Chantal Kerkow and manager David Thornberry ready for another day of work on NAPCO’s Gordon Downs.
Chantal Kerkow and manager David Thornberry ready for another day of work on NAPCO’s Gordon Downs.

Student follows her heart

CHANTAL Kerkow isn’t your typical Year 9 school student.

It’s just breaking daylight and equipped with a hat, boots and a huge smile the 14-year-old has just been dropped at the Gordon Downs shed to begin a day of work experience.

The Emerald State High School student has been up since before sunrise to catch a lift on the school bus’ outward bound trip to the North Australian Pastoral Company property situated about 40 kilometres north east of Emerald.

As the sun lights up the paddocks, Chantal knows where she wants to be – she’s about to climb on board a horse or bike and sit behind a mob of cattle for the day.

Thanks to the partnership formed between NAPCO and the Emerald State High School work placement program, Chantal is living her dream.

“Town living isn’t for me, this is where I want to be,” said Chantal with a smile.

And according to Gordon Downs manager, David “Huck” Thornberry, she is well suited, having capably handled a full day mustering on her first day.

“We’ve all got to work at providing experience and engagement in the industry, bottom line that’s where our future is,” he said.

Chantal is the first Emerald State High School student to undertake work experience on Gordon Downs and the school is hoping to form similar partnerships with others in the industry since being selected as an Agribusiness Gateway School.

The Gateway School Project aims to help students make a successful transition from school into further education, training or employment in the agribusiness sector.


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