Local high school students have an opportunity to gain work experience in event management and a $2,000 educational scholarship thanks to Tocal Field Days Association. The Association today launched the new scholarship program ahead of this year’s Tocal Field Days (May 3-5).

Three Year 10 students will be selected this year for the five-year scholarship. In 2020, and in each following year, one more scholarship will be awarded. 

Recipients will work at Tocal Field Days each year for five years. At the end of five years they will receive $2,000 that can be used to pay off a HECS debt or other educational fees.

Kids enjoying Tocal Field Days

Tocal Field Days manager Wendy Franklin said the scholarship program was designed to provide valuable, practical, work experience for young people wanting to pursue event management as a career.

Ms Franklin said recipients will be paired with an experienced staff member and rotated through different roles in line with their interests and strengths. In subsequent years they will take on a more supervisory role, becoming part of the event’s management team.

She said the program is part of the Field Day’s charter to contribute to the community. It will also help provide a stable, event workforce with fresh ideas in an environment of an ageing and declining volunteer base.

“Like a number of other field days around Australia, we increasingly struggle to find young casual staff and volunteers to work at our event,” Ms Franklin said.

“We have outstanding students from Tocal College, but their expertise and passion is in agriculture not event management. Those students change each year and can’t take on supervisory roles, so each year training starts from scratch.”

Wendy Franklin

“We think this innovative scholarship program is an Australian first for a field day or agricultural show.”

Aside from the scholarship payment the recipients will be paid to work at the event each year under the Exhibition and Events Award. Recipients will work the day before and on each day of the three-day event. They will also be required to attend the event briefing and one other committee meeting during the year.

Tocal Field Days also supports student musicians by paying them to perform at the event.

Students wishing to apply for a scholarship should visit www.tocalfielddays.com or call 4939 8820 for an application form. Applications close March 29.

Tocal Field Days, “today’s farming on show”, is held annually at the Tocal Agricultural Centre, Paterson. Tickets for the 2019 event go on sale in March. More than 23,000 people visited the 2018 event which featured 361 exhibitors. Event proceeds provided $32,000 in grants to community groups in 2018.