The journey to work started after an information session on the NTCA’s Pastoral Real Jobs Program came to Yarralin and Timber Creek, where a number of CDP participants expressed interest in applying for the two-week station hand training program.
Receiving support from VDRC CDP staff members, Shane Sluggett from Timber Creek and Heiura Apera from Yarralin, applications for the training program were submitted.
Before long, Yarralin locals – Aqib William, Draylen Long, Bradlene Douglas and Jonita Daly – and Timber Creek locals – Bradley Hector and Lane Smiler – were successfully selected for the training program, run by James Gourley and Annabelle Keith from the Cattleman’s Association.
The training required the participants to travel just outside of Alice Springs to learn the ins and outs of working on a cattle station.
In the months following, full-time work was found for all participants, with the fellas heading to Brunette Downs Station, and the ladies to Tipperary Station.
Bradley, Lane, Aqib and Draylen commenced full-time employment as Station Hands earlier this year, where they are going from strength to strength.
Brunette Down Assistant Manager, Jack Littler, said the boys were “probably some of the best workers they have had”.
Since starting, they have learnt a whole range of new skills including breaking in wild horses, mustering cattle, working with, and learning how to use different machinery, going to rodeos and even riding bulls.
Jumping over hurdles
Unfortunately for Jonita and Bradlene, Tipperary Station was not the right fit. The pair were however quickly rematched to Lake Nash Station where they have started as station hands and are thriving in their new jobs.
Annabelle said that she “couldn’t be prouder of the girls”.
“Jonita and Jolene turned everything around during the second week of training and really showed that they wanted to be there and put in the hard work,” Annabelle said.
The distance of the stations from communities sometimes can be a challenge, but our newly minted CDP Cowboys and girls are doing an amazing job.
Annabelle said she is impressed with the Victoria Daly region and will continue to work with CDP staff on recruiting more participants in the future.