Sixteen-year old Jessi Armour doesn’t have your average weekend job.
She currently milks at Perdita and Hamish Bills’ 300-cow share farm at Bona-Vista, near Warragul in Gippsland, every weekend. “I couldn’t have imagined working on a dairy farm. But if you like animals and are willing to learn it’s the perfect job,” Jessi said. “I love fashion and dressing up, but then I go to a dairy farm and get covered in dirt.”
Jessi was looking for a job she could work around her school hours and horse riding. She saw adverts online for dairy workers and her mum, Corrinne, suggested contacting the Bills. “It’s the perfect job for me. There’s a lot of flexibility because I’m a casual worker,” Jessi said.
She never thought about working on a farm when she was living in Melbourne three years ago but is glad she got the opportunity. “It’s a job that anyone can get into,” she said. “I like it. It’s hands-on and you get to work outside.”
Her shifts are about two hours, and she helps with the milking and then the clean-up. “It’s a really friendly environment. It feels like a family, and I feel comfortable going there.”
Jessi has not only found a job that lets her work with animals, but she also takes the opportunities offered to her to learn as much as she can. “It teaches you responsibility. There’s a lot of trust there as well. They trust I’ll do a good job when they leave me to work independently,” she said. “Even if you don’t want a career in it, it’s great as a casual job.”
“I am amazed how much Jessi loves the dairy, and her employers are surprised she picked it up so quickly and confidently. Her last job was waitressing in a café, so this is very different, and she raves about it,” Corrinne said. “She is learning life skills she can transfer to other environments beyond the farm too.”
Jessi has embraced her new job wholeheartedly and would recommend it to anyone looking for casual work. “They’re always looking for people who are prepared to work hard, so if you’re interested in getting a job on a dairy farm, it’s worth asking around or looking online.”