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Darcy’s SACE selection transports her onto the land she loves


Wednesday 15 December 2021

Nuriootpa High School student Darcy Schmaal has used the flexibility of SACE to channel her two passions - learning and agriculture.

Cicilia Begbia

Web Content Display (Global)

Darcy Schmaal’s face lights up every time she talks about her Agricultural Apprenticeship and applying what she is learning to what is happening on the family farm. The Nuriootpa High School student keeps a close check that her vocational learning contributes to her SACE completion. A successful student, Darcy has combined her two passions – learning and the agricultural industry.

“I’ve grown up on the family farm. All my life, this passion has stuck.

“People say it’s quite unusual for someone my age to be so certain about what they want to do, I just know it’s always been part of me.

“When I did my PLP in year 10, I did work experience on a ram stud. The people there were always saying how well I worked, and they asked if I’d thought about doing a traineeship.

“This got me thinking.

“We had an open day in year 10 for all of our SACE choices. There was a company there offering the Certificate III in Agriculture as part of a traineeship.

“I took all of the material home and spoke to Mum and Dad about it. They weren’t sure, but I kept asking questions. I went and got more information. It took a couple of months then I was all signed up to the traineeship on our family farm with my Dad as my mentor.

“I go away for week blocks at a time, so I keep in contact with the school when I’m away.

“I’ve got two SACE Stage 2 subjects in addition to my traineeship, I’m on track to get my SACE at the end of the year and be signed off from my traineeship in December.

“I’ve got good supportive teachers.

“This is my passion, I’ve always been so interested in agriculture, the traineeship doesn’t feel like a job at all.

‘If you enjoy it, it doesn’t really feel like schoolwork in the end, it feels like freedom’

2022 is going to be an exciting year for Darcy. She is going to complete another course on being a stations hand and a Jillaroo. 

“It’s a pretty big dream of mine to be away on a station, I’m working on the family farm next year, then head off north in 2023 to go work on a cattle or sheep station.

“I say to others just do your best, try your hardest. If you find something that you love, then follow what your heart says. You might be getting straight A’s, but if you want to do a traineeship then go and do it. 

“You can make SACE into your own version. I’m going to do ‘this part’ and ‘this part’. It’s heaps good!”

After completing her SACE, Darcy is planning to extend her learning in the agricultural field to learn more about shearing and pursue work on outback stations to broaden her experience.