Waylon Shadlock drives a 10-hour round trip each weekend so he can build a brighter future for himself as a tractor driver.
Shadlock is taking part in the Agricultural Contracting course being run at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre near Masterton. The fully funded six-week course, a joint venture between UCOL, EIT and Ministry of Primary Industries, equips people with entry-level skills for agricultural contracting work.
Shadlock stays at Taratahi during the week and goes home to Wairoa on the weekends. He then travels back to Taratahi for the next week of learning, making a 10-hour round trip each weekend.
“It’s a big commitment, but if I work hard it will hopefully bring me a bigger dollar in the long run,” says Shadlock.
“I took on the opportunity to show the young fellas in Wairoa there’s a better life out there if you work hard.”
Shadlock comes from an agricultural background, having worked as a fencer and shearer, and wanted to add more skills to his repertoire.
The Agricultural Contracting course includes two weeks for developing tractor and machinery skills and learning health and safety, two weeks of driver endorsement training, and a two-week work placement.
Tulloch Farm Machines and Power Farming Wairarapa have provided machinery for the course, while Andrew Tulloch Contracting, Grays Contracting, and Scott’s Ag Contracting have offered guidance and advice to the students.
The driver training was a highlight for Shadlock, who now has endorsements to drive tractors, tracked vehicles and forklifts thanks to the course.
“This course has really given me a lot of skills in terms of safety with driving vehicles and working around vehicles. It’s about making sure that everyone goes home safe at the end of the day.”
Shadlock hopes to stay in the Wairarapa after he finishes the course and land a tractor-driving job.
He encourages anyone looking to break into the agricultural contracting industry to give the course a go.
“Once you get your license and endorsements you can make good money. Shout your name out to anyone looking for ag contractors and get on a tractor. The more hours you get, the better you get, and the more money you can earn.”