The new independent director for Young Farmers, Catherine McMillan is passionate about seeing young people find their place in the world.
Hannah Nichols, 18, is from a 230 cow dairy farm in Dargaville in Northland.
She’s just started studying a one-year Diploma in Agriculture at Lincoln University in Canterbury.
“The Government fees-free policy means I don’t have to pay any university fees,” said the Lincoln Young Farmers member.
“But my accommodation costs are almost $14,000. That’s a lot of money.”
Hannah was urged to consider the long list of scholarships on offer for students studying agricultural courses.
“There are more than 250 scholarships available which are designed to help entice students into the agri-food sector,” said Mary Holmes from NZ Young Farmers.
“The value of those scholarships exceeds $3 million.”
“It’s a shame when I hear some of the scholarships go unused because students don’t know they exist,” she said.
Each year the World Congress Charitable Trust awards two $1500 scholarships to NZ Young Farmers members.
“I applied when I saw it advertised on social media. I was blown away when I found out my application was successful,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a long shot that I would get it.”
Hannah will use the money to help cover some of her accommodation costs.
Fellow NZ Young Farmers member Brenna Coleman, 23, encourages students to apply for scholarships.
“There are loads available, especially for agriculture. Many close in August, so be prepared and get your application in early,” she said.
“Apply even if you don’t fit the scholarship criteria because if you’re the only applicant you could still be successful.”
Hannah Nichols credits her involvement with TeenAg for giving her the skills to apply.
“TeenAg helped me grow my leadership skills and gave me the confidence to think outside the box,” said she.
Hannah chaired the TeenAg club at Dargaville High School for three years and competed in last year’s TeenAg Grand Final in Invercargill.
“It was an amazing experience. It’s great to now be studying with some of the other TeenAg members I competed against,” she said.
TeenAg clubs are run by NZ Young Farmers and funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).
Hannah has joined Lincoln Young Farmers and would like to work as a technical field advisor when she completes her studies.
Emma Subtil, 21, who’s studying a Masters in Agribusiness at Lincoln University, also received a $1500 scholarship.
Details on other agri-food related scholarships can be found at http://www.growingnz.org.nz/scholarships.php