As the beef world battled it out for the top honours at the Royal Queensland Show yesterday, the next generation of agriculture took the opportunity to gain an insight into the industry.
Students from the TAFE Queensland Toowoomba campus travelled down to the Brisbane showgrounds to experience and observe the largest showing of stud beef cattle in the southern hemisphere.
A cohort of 14 domestic and international students recently commenced their 12-month certificate III of rural operations in July and soaked up one of their first practical outings.
TAFE Queensland Toowoomba teacher Vanessa Cain, who grew up in the agricultural industry, said the Ekka environment provided an opportunity for students to gain an insight into the types of roles on offer.
"We're looking at producing careers across the whole ag industry," she said.
"Within our course we have tractors, machinery, livestock - both cattle and sheep - as well as planting crops for the stock.
"This trip is about trying to get a taste for the broad range of the ag industry, so that they can find employment after the course."
Ms Cain said the students were brought to the Ekka for the experience.
"Some of these guys have never seen so many cattle in one place," she said.
"It really showcases a lot different cattle and opens up some eyes to some of the jobs that may not necessarily be prominent within the industry."
Student Trinity Johnstone made the trip and said a career in agriculture was the path she was keen to pursue.
Based in Tamborine Mountain and commuting to the Toowoomba campus, Ms Johnstone said she was not originally from an ag background.
"This was my way to get into the industry," she said.
"I just really like horses. Not even riding them, just being around them.
"I don't want to show, I'm not an adrenaline junkie type of rider, I just want to work on stations.
"I've obviously applied for jobs, but they will always take someone who knows what they're doing.
"So, I thought I'll learn some skills and see if they'll take me then."
Ms Johnstone said she hoped to gain employment in the livestock industry once completing her certificate and potential further study.
"I will probably have to do further courses in cattle handling on a horse," she said.
"I currently work at a racing stable and I'm learning a lot from my boss.
"Listening to what the judges are looking for in the cattle here today is really useful."
Theory aside, Ms Cain said the hands-on experience was invaluable for the students.
"The practical component is super important because if you can't put your learnings into practice, it defeats the purpose.
"At the end of the day, ag is a lot of practical work.
"Yes, the theory is there, but to understand the concepts, the practical side is super important."
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