Anna Ingold is taking a leading role when it comes to country students’ futures as Cootamundra and District Country Education Fund’s secretary. The 24-year-old is a 2010 recipient, and knows personally how much the support can affect a student’s future and self-esteem.
“I always tell the kids to apply even though you don’t think you’ll get it. We’ve given grants to kids that don’t think they’ll get anything and then they get something from us. It encourages them more, even at uni.”
“It’s great when they get a grant and they just weren’t expecting it. It’s not based on how smart you are or how sporty you are – it depends on need and want of education.”
Having seen both sides of CEF’s story she said the experience has been invaluable and continues to be – through networking and informal mentoring of recipients.
“It gives the student a leg up into their future. And it does create a network between the recipients. That’s one thing I do tell kids when I go into schools – this is a networking opportunity.
“The networking is the most valuable thing, not the money at all. I’ve got jobs not because of what I know, but who I know.”
Twice a year the Cootamundra and District CEF holds a farewell dinner for its newest recipients, a night to wish them well in their studies.
“We always invite the old recipients back, just to keep them in touch. Most of the older recipients are at uni and get to talk to the younger recipients, it’s a really good night. It’s a good social night for those recipients to talk to one another, about what they’re doing at uni and how they found uni.”
Anna said one of the challenges Cootamundra and District CEF faces is around communicating. One of the biggest hurdles is getting your name out there, about what we do and why we’re doing it.”
“The cause is a worthwhile thing to pursue. It’s definitely a process, but is all worth it for that one meeting where you get to choose the kids. It all comes together and makes everything you’ve been working for worthwhile.”
Cootamundra and District CEF is also working on increasing applications for TAFE and vocational training applicants.
“Our application times mean we have trouble getting future apprentices to apply, because when the applications are taking place they haven’t secured an apprenticeship yet. Generally, we have one or two apprentices apply a year.”
Anna admitted she did not see herself taking on the Cootamundra and District CEF secretary role when she returned home after studying Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.
“When I came home from uni, a long-time family friend was the secretary and asked me to be a committee member. I was on the committee for two years before he asked/told/suggested that I should become the secretary,” Anna laughed.
Anna lives and works in Cootamundra as a livestock consultant and likes to work on the family farm in her spare time.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a CEF committee member or establishing a committee in your community please visit our foundations page.