Graduate Profile

Josh Berterlink
Josh with employer, Gerard Jochems

Josh with employer, Gerard Jochems

Josh Berterlink - Agriculture

Working on a farm at a friend’s grandparents’ place was Josh’s introduction to farming and enough to sow the seed of agriculture as a career option.

“Our family moved to New Zealand from Holland about five years ago so I had my high school years here but I had no background in farming and didn’t know what it involves. I know I’m an outdoor person and wouldn’t last in any office job, so when I was looking at my options before leaving school, I decided to give agriculture a go.”

“The NorthTec course was great because we went out and actually did stuff on farms plus we did the paperwork to learn about diseases, soils, innovations, pasture species and stock management. It gave me basic skills and an overall awareness. I’ve just finished the agriculture level three and I’m doing the VMI course (Vehicles Machinery and Infrastructure) while I’m working here on the farm.”

Josh got his job on Gerard and Brigette Jochems’ beef farm near Waimate North when Gerard approached NorthTec asking if they had anyone with energy and enthusiasm. “I stepped up because I was keen and I’m loving it. I work with Gerard five days a week, and so far I’m learning to shift stock, check on the calves, feed out, do fencing, and weed with the chainsaw. I love that there’s lots of diversity in a day.” 

“No matter how good my base knowledge from the course is, there’s nothing like the doing stuff on the job to really learn things. My biggest challenge is improving my stock sense because I didn’t grow up around animals, so I’m learning lots with that every day.”

“As farm side-lines we’ve also got a possum fur plucker, and Gerard has a small horse (Fudge) that pulls a cart. There’s plenty to keep things really interesting and I’m living right in the moment here. Longer term Gerard thinks I’d have more future in dairying but I’m happy here for now.”

Employer of Josh Berterlink

Gerard Jochems - Farmer

“I like helping kids learn and we’ve always had young fellas here helping in weekends and holidays to give them a feel for farm life and a bit of a start if it’s something they want to do. We have a 500-acre beef farm so we can always use some help.”

“I rang and asked NorthTec if they had someone keen who was finishing their agriculture training and they said they had two guys. Josh‘s enthusiasm stood out, so we had an interview and a two-week trial and now he’s here. He tries 100 per cent and he knows about pasture, break-feeding, tech systems, fertilisers, animal health and weed control. He’s got lots to learn about stock handling and he makes mistakes along the way, but if he keeps up the effort he’ll become a good farmer.”

“I’ve taken on more stock and given myself more work to take Josh on but I like giving keen young guys a start. Because I need to work with him while he learns, it pulls me away from other work and costs me, so even though he’s on a fairly low wage, I think trainees on farms should be further subsidised.”

“I really like Josh’s enthusiasm and am encouraging him to think about a future in dairying where there’s more money and more infrastructure and he could work his way up. But he seems happy here for now, so we’ll see what happens.”

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