Old Collegians

Grace Campbell 2014-2015

“After graduating from Denmark Ag  I went to Albany Tafe and completed a Cert III in Education Support. I have been lucky enough to get casual work as an Education Assistant at both Denmark and Walpole Primary Schools. I have also been working casually at the Walpole Family Centre, Bow Bridge Roadhouse and for my grandparent’s in their dairy.

In November 2016, I attended a Young Dairy Network Study Tour over to New Zealand, for 10 days.  We visited farms, training centres and dairy facilities and saw some of the best NZ dairy farms.  The tour was focused on year round grazing systems, herd status and cross breeding, new technologies, share farming and pasture developments. Harvey fresh, Delaval, PGG Wrightson Seeds and Elders support these young farmer tours to maintain young people’s interests in the dairy industry and farming.  We were also lucky enough to have down time on the tour to go bungee jumping, shopping and relax.

I still live at Peaceful Bay with my mum, but also spend time in Albany with my brother as I play netball twice a week.  I’m lucky to be able to have both homes as it keeps my cost of living down.  I have also been on holiday to Bali as well as Cambodia and Laos.

I keep in contact with many of the ex aggies and Hannah Collins who was a year above me also went on the NZ tour.

I think being a graduate from the College has helped me in many ways, fiirstly the certificates I gained,  the wide range of skills and the friends I made.  Currently I am working towards my Certificate IV in Education Support. I’m doing this externally online to enable me to continue working.  The photo above was taken when I was in Laos.”


Taneeke Marsden 2011-2013

“After graduating from the College in 2013 I had a gap year where I worked on a dairy farm and fruit orchard before moving to Perth to go to Murdoch University in 2015.  I am now in my third year studying Animal Science.  In my first year I lived on campus which was a fantastic way to meet people and get into the routine of living away from home.  Now that I am used to living in Perth and settled into University I am share renting, a cheaper alternative to on-campus accommodation.

At the start of my third year I chose to go on exchange to Nottingham, England to study equine and environmental subjects for a semester which go towards my degree at Murdoch.  Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst campus is their animal, rural and environmental science campus which is half an hour out of the city surrounded by farm land and fresh air which was such a relief from the big smoke for an aggie like myself!

While over that side of the world I also toured through Europe for a month prior to heading to Nottingham ticking a dozen countries off my bucket list and making trips on breaks during the semester to see Edinburgh, Scotland, other parts of England, Spain, Sweden, and Croatia and Holland after finishing studying.  Travelling and studying overseas was the best decision I’ve made, it was a great way to see some of the world and grow my self confidence and resilience.

In July 2017, after Europe, I headed to Alberta Canada where I  worked with Hagel Feeders – a feedlot with approximately 5,000 head cattle. They mostly finish Angus cattle, which are shipped world wide with high demand for naturally raised (no hormones, feed additives or drugs) Black Angus for export to Europe and Asia. While there I went to Rodeos, on day horse trail rides through the Canadian forests and mountains, roped cattle and saw some of the Canadian countryside.

Going to Denmark Ag has given me a big advantage in my studies and work life.  Before Ag school I had nothing to do with farming or animals and had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated high school.  Now I am happy to say I have more of an understanding of food and fibre production and can foresee myself going into the cattle industry once I graduate from Murdoch, in a years time”.

Lewis Newton

“After graduating I was awarded a scholarship and I moved to Victoria to study Equine Business Management at Marcus Oldham College.  Since completing the Diploma I have been in New South Wales training in top dressage stables with trainers such as Matthew Dowsley and Clemens, Judy and Daniella Dierks.  At the moment I am working for C & J Dierks Advanced Dressage Centre in Arcadia, NSW.

I moved over east by myself in January 2016 and have been living away from home since.  I miss my family, friends and my dog but I love being in NSW.

I have my dream job as I ride some of the best horses in Australia every day.  I work with great people and I have met so many great friends within the industry.

Next year will be a massive year for me as I will hopefully start my horse in the Grand Prix which is the highest level of dressage.  This year I will be competing in the CDI-Y which is an international Prix St George for young riders.  I have very good sponsors that support me and keep my horse looking the best.

Graduating from Denmark Ag was very important for me as it helped me get my scholarship to Marcus Oldham College.  It also gave me the skills to go into the workplace.

I have a lot of goals for the future. The main goal I am focusing on is to get to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, we have a few years and I have a very good horse so it is definitely a realistic goal.  I plan to keep training hard and to start taking on more of my own clients and building a team of horses.  One day in the future I would consider taking my horse to Europe for some intense training and competing.

Whenever I get the chance to get back to Western Australia I always try to catch up with the friends I made at Denmark Ag.”

Jessica Perrin 2011-2012

“I attended Denmark Ag from 2011-2012 and loved the College in every way – the learning, the staff, the residential activities and all. The mainstream course really prepared me for University in terms of content (particularly Animal Production and Plant Production) which was relatable to the course I had my heart set on – a Bachelor of Agricultural Business and Science. I sat the ATAR exams at the end of year 12 and had a great deal of support from the teaching staff who helped me to excel in these exams and get the ATAR I needed to get into the Uni course I wanted – thanks Mr Swallow, Mr Irwin, Mr Morrell and Miss Potter (now Mrs Warburton I’ve been told).

Since graduating from Denmark, I went straight to Curtin University in 2013. In my first year of Uni I lived in the student accommodation on campus and made great friends and had a blast – I refer it to being like boarding school with NO RULES.  I then moved out into share houses with a number of friends and lived the Uni lifestyle of adventures, studying, exams and of cause the University Tavern. I loved the agricultural business and science course that I studied at Uni and graduated in 2015.



Stephen Brookes (2013-2015)

After graduation I started an apprenticeship at Watercraft Marine at Emu Point in Albany as a Marine Mechanic. I still live in Albany and really enjoy what I do as my apprenticeship allows me to do what I enjoy every day. Outside of work I still get to see my Ag College friends fairly often.

Being a graduate of Denmark Agricultural College has let my prospective employers know that I am work ready and have already had a lot of experience in workplace conditions. In a few years time I will hopefully still be working for Watercraft Marine and completed my apprenticeship. I also hope to travel Australia in the future.

I keep in touch with most of my College friends, even ones that were two years ahead of me.

Katelyn Weinert (2010 to 2011)

I gained employment with Albany  Blue Gum Plantations straight after  I graduated. I completed a forestry course with the WA College of Agriculture-Denmark and this, along with a great reference from the College got me the position. This experience gained me invaluable experience. The hands on skills and the confidence that  I gained at the College all contributed to my enjoying and excelling in the workplace.

After a year of working, and needing to always be learning new things, lead me to investigate enrolling in a University course. Having completed my TEE exams whilst at the College and gained a score that enabled me to enter any of the courses that I chose, I chose to study  Environmental Biology at Curtin University.

Having boarded at the College for two years, I had all the skills and confidence to make the move from Albany to Perth, where I am studying my course. I am really enjoying it and doing well.

During my study breaks I have been able to secure work with my former employer, which helps me to  save money to contribute to my education costs.

Last summer break, I applied to participate in a Turtle Monitoring Program and another monitoring program at the Arid Recovery Centre in South Australia.  If selected, these programs will give me the practical on-the-job experience to add to my resume.

Katelyn and her family would like to acknowledge the great opportunities offered to her at the College. The wonderful  learning environment and dedication of the staff are highly commended


William Tohl (2011 to 2013)

In February 2013 I commenced an apprenticeship at  Macintosh & Son in Albany as a Heavy Diesel Mechanic. I moved from the family farm in Kojonup to start my apprenticeship.

Without the assistance and experience that I received from the WA College of Agriculture—Denmark, I would not have had this opportunity. In the future I plan to finish my apprenticeship and work for a few years as a mechanic before returning home to work alongside my Dad on our farm.


Meggie Tharratt (2012 to 2013)

After Working at CBH (Co- operative Bulk Handling) in Boyup Brook over harvest I was employed at the Albany Race Club for some part time work as an Identification Microchip scanner.This job involves identifying the brands and microchips in each individual horse and making sure they are in the correct race. Through this job I was offered work in Port Hedland as a registered strapper/stable-hand for the race horse trainer, Dixie Solly.  I took this job, travelling up to Port Headland in the horse truck, camping and caring for 7 racehorses.  It took 4 days to get there and each night we would camp at a race course where we could use the horse yards.

Being the youngest and newest member of the Solly team, many of the other experienced strappers helped me learn and develop numerous new skills required for riding these large framed and extremely strong breed of horses. My work for Mr Solly was both an incredible and at times challenging, experience, as the horses we were working with are very different to the hacking horses I had previously been used to riding.  It was great to be involved in the racing industry as I was introduced to a whole new genre of equine discipline.

The team I was working with were a great group of people and I made many new friends and became extremely close to one of the champion racehorses. I really appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed the time working in Port Hedland and I was offered employment with the Solly team for ensuing year’s racing season.

I am organising to do work experience with one of the local vets with the hope of studying veterinary nursing. Through my experiences with both Denmark Ag College and being part of the racing industry I have developed a passion for working with larger animals such as horses and cattle, therefore I wish to pursue a career handling and caring for such animals.

I believe that the skills and knowledge that I developed through doing the Animal Production Systems course as well as the lessons on farm at the College will continue to assist me in my aspirations towards this goal.

I have managed to maintain contact with most of my class mates from Denmark Ag College.  We have been able to do this mainly through Facebook and we often meet up for catch-ups and birthday events. I would love to see everyone from our 2013 College leavers again and so I am really looking forward to the next College reunion or a similar event for my year group.


Ashley Tharratt (2012 – 2013)

After graduating from the Western Australian College of Agriculture in Denmark I was successful in securing employment with CBH (Co-operative Bulk Handling) for the 2013/2014 seasonal harvest. I thoroughly enjoyed my employment with the CBH group as I believe it was a great opportunity to use, develop and consolidate the skills that I learnt at the Denmark Ag. College.

I then decided to follow my intuition and passion for agriculture and began my studies at Curtin University, studying the Bachelor of Agribusiness.Moving away from home proved to be one of the biggest challenges that I faced as well as making the transition from a school environment, where students were assisted with their work and assignments when needed, to a University environment in which students are expected to be highly independent.  This transition was difficult at first however, at the end of semester I was pleased with my results as I not only passed my units but I managed to achieve a distinction and high distinction in some units.  I truly believe my experiences at the College as well as the skills and knowledge I attained from my studies there have helped me adjust to the University lifestyle and the academic expectations.

At the end of my tertiary studies I wish to follow a career in agricultural science as I believe it will be both a challenging and rewarding career pathway.  I would like to work on the forefront of the agricultural science and research discipline as I would like to take part in the advancement of the industry and ensure that it moves forward in a positive manner.  Although I love working with animals and livestock, the areas of agriculture that I am particularly interested in are botany and the environment, therefore I wish to be involved in the research and development of new and environmentally friendly technologies, agricultural systems and possibly new plant cultivars.

At my time at the WA College of Agriculture – Denmark I consistently enjoyed the Plant Production Systems and Conservation and Land Management courses, in particular the physiological and ecological elements of them.  My passion for plant production lead me to achieve great results in my school report and I also achieved the highest results of the school in my ATAR exams overall.  My efforts and performance in this class has enhanced my interest and enthusiasm for plant science therefore I wish to pursue a career in this field.

As our year group was relatively small and several of the students had been through previous schooling together, we were and continue to be a really close year group and have managed to keep in touch and see each other regularly.  One of the largest tests about going to the College is that all of the students are from various parts of WA, so sometimes it is difficult to all meet up. However, the majority of our year group make an effort to travel the distance to see each other and have regular catch ups.  Many of us have not only kept in touch with each other but have also kept in touch with other College leavers from the years above us.


Jason Sykes (2010 – 2012)

Ten years ago, I commenced my education at the Denmark Agricultural College as the landmark first ever Year 10 group. During my time at Denmark we learnt a broad range of practical and theoretical skills not easily delivered in traditional teaching styles, the way our educators taught was hands on with an expectation that you work things out for yourself; ask for help if needed and learn from your mistakes. This approach to education was a far cry from the teaching skill at my previous public school, this core method of delivery set us (Aggies) in a complete different field in regards to workplace readiness compared to traditionally educated high school students, my fellow pupils and myself to-date still believe our first day at College counted as our first day in the workplace.

The ability to deliver quality education and mentoring wouldn’t have been possible without the small group of dedicated staff. I’ve never met a group of people that are willing to be so committed to a job and put a lot of their own time into it. I reflect on this making learning more enjoyable because the people that taught us truly believe in the education they provided. During 1st Quarter of Year 12 I was student elected as Head Boy, being chosen to represent the College was a privilege and gave me another perspective on how the College operated. It taught me a set of skills not easily obtained and I believe this appointment improved my motivation to be a more considerate and empathetic person. In all, having graduated from the College has paved a pathway for my future working years, as the knowledge and social skills I have learnt during my 3 years there I now use every day.

After completion of my formal high school education I relocated to Perth and commenced work with Lightning & Surge Technology (L&ST) – specialising in lightning risk mitigation across a broad range of sectors including Mining, Heavy Industrial, Commercial, Off & Onshore Oil & Gas. This is where my previous passion for electrical / electronic systems really kicked into gear, quickly attaining skills to specify, design and fabricate complex lighting protection equipment and supporting a booming business prior to the downturn. During this time, I operated my own small sole trading fabrication business running harmoniously with L&ST.

I chose a path to increase my industry knowledge and skills, starting an Apprenticeship in Electrical (Cert III in Electrotechnology – Electrician). The company Professional Cabling Services (PCS) took me on-board, they focus heavily on Communication Systems, namely Structured & Fibre Optic Cabling. Having agreed that they would train me for 1 year and then I was to move onto a more electrically focused business, I got straight into it. During this period, I completed my ACMA Open Cabling License & Parts of Cert III in Communications.

One year later, as it would be, I received a call from a family friend (Owner/ Director) of Karratha Building Company. He offered to continue my apprenticeship with their newly formed electrical division, with consent from PCS. I said yes and within 1 week relocated 1600kms to Karratha. They threw me right in the deep end and within the first month I coordinated the installation of multiple structured & fiber optic cabling jobs. Im my words I learnt to run before I could walk. Looking back there was no better way to learn. The General & Electrical Manager created their own business and left Karratha Building, offering me the opportunity to jump across and support their new business from the ground up. I started as Communications Supervisor and after completion of my “fast tracked” apprenticeship at age 21, I was the sole Electrical & Communications Supervisor. Having tradesmen twice my age under my supervision was a challenge but they saw my ethics and ability so put trust in me. The business grew at an impeccable rate and 2 years flew by.

In April 2018, being ready to tackle this industry myself, I created Sykes Engineering, focusing heavily on communications with a side division being manufacturing. Since conception we have been active in the commercial and mining sectors mainly working for larger tier 2 and 3 EPCM businesses.

Wanting to get back to my supervisor roots, I worked for two large electrical contractors EC&M & CEM on the close to home ground-breaking Talison Greenbushes Lithium CGP2 project. Firstly being in a small QA/QC team for EC&M then moving onto the Electrical Foreman, QA/QC Lead and Permit to work coordinator at CEM, having over 100 electricians onsite.

I am now looking at expanding my business and hope to have financial success due to the potential minerals boom across the State. What Denmark Agriculture College provided me is hard to document on paper, a combined teaching approach working on the students core values and really the transition into adulthood. The person I am today and what I will achieve in the future is thanks to my education at the College. Learning is agriculturally based, but the skills learnt are applicable to all areas of employment and life. I cannot thank the staff enough for their dedication.

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