By Sarah Collier
Scholarships are more than just financial aid. They are investments in human potential. They open doors to education, personal growth, and opportunities that would otherwise remain out of reach.
The Gardiner Foundation Tertiary Scholarship enables students from Victorian dairy communities to move away from home to study and complete a tertiary education.
Flynn Cannon is one of Gardiner’s tertiary scholarship recipients. His journey highlights the importance of scholarships, particularly in supporting rural communities and fostering a sustainable future for vital industries like dairy farming.
Now in his final year of study at Longerenong College doing an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management, as well as a Diploma in Applied Agronomy, Flynn hopes to return to his family’s farm once he finishes. “I grew up on a dairy farm that’s been in my family for four generations. I’ve always known I wanted to work there, but Dad told me I have to get an education first,” Flynn said. “I’ve been helping out on the farm since I was little. I used to hear my dad’s door opening to check the cows and I’d be out the door before he could.”
Rural communities form the backbone of a country, contributing significantly to agriculture, food production, and cultural heritage. However, rural areas often face unique challenges, including limited access to educational resources and career opportunities.
“The scholarship allowed me to focus on my study instead of worrying about money,” Flynn said. “One of the benefits was that I could choose where the money went to. It could go to anything that I needed it for.”
Tertiary scholarships play a vital role in nurturing talent within the dairy sector, ensuring that the industry remains competitive and sustainable in an ever-evolving global landscape.
“Growing up on a dairy farm has influenced me a lot, but I reckon I would have still come around to dairy at some point. I have a passion for dairy,” Flynn said.
These scholars, armed with knowledge and fresh perspectives, can innovate and modernize practices, making dairy farming more efficient and environmentally friendly.
“I have fallen in love with the agronomy side. And since undertaking a placement at AG Warehouse in Maffra and Yarram as an agronomist I decided to further my studies in that area,” Flynn said. “Initially I didn’t want to do agronomy, but it really turned my head around when I realized it was mostly about fixing problems and translating stuff to farmers.”
Scholarship recipients often become role models and mentors for other students in their communities. Their success stories inspire others to pursue education and envision a brighter future, creating a positive ripple effect.
“I love rural Victoria and always wanted to stay there,” Flynn said. “I’d recommend the scholarship to anyone who wants to pursue a career in agriculture and needs a bit of extra help.”
Supporting rural people in their pursuit of tertiary education through Gardiner’s scholarship program is an investment in the future of both individuals and their communities. It empowers aspiring students to overcome financial barriers and contribute their knowledge and skills to vital industries.
“If you think of applying but are worried you won’t get it, go for it anyway. I didn’t think I’d get the scholarship either, but I did,” Flynn said.
Applications must be submitted by 5pm, Monday, 20 November 2023. For more information and to apply please visit www.gardinerfoundation.com.au/ts.
Please send completed applications to email@example.com.