Nyngan is a small town in central NSW with agriculture at its heart – the perfect place for Jorja Griffiths to grow up, having always felt a strong connection to the land. Her mother is a dedicated registered nurse and her father a tireless farmer. She knows it is their hard work that has enabled her and her siblings to gain quality educations and pursue their dreams.
As a young girl, she spent as much time as possible working on the farm with her father and uncle, learning all she could about pastures, machinery, running the property and about animals.
From horses to sheep and cattle to household pets, animals and their care has always interested and intrigued Jorja, and led her to veterinary studies at Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga campus.
“My motivation and determination have definitely stemmed from my parents as they are both influential role models for myself.”
MAKING THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES WITH A LITTLE HELP
Although her initial move to university was short-lived thanks to COVID, the best thing about 2020 for Jorja was meeting so many new people, saying she was able to make new connections and thrive in the social on campus lifestyle.
It is this ‘boots and all’ attitude that sees her excelling in a very hands-on degree. One that requires an enormous 12 weeks of unpaid and unsupported placement within 2 years.
This only adds to the financial pressures for Jorja, having to manage the costs of additional travel and accommodation. And, with such large blocks of time used for this hands-on experience, it also makes it incredibly difficult to undertake any paid work to earn money.
“Give everything a red hot crack! It might be daunting moving to a new area and not knowing everyone but remember to join clubs, participate in activities and meet new people because you will not regret it! Just grasp every opportunity you get!”
Jorja is choosing to make the most of these opportunities, saying ‘I am travelling far and wide for my placements as I want to engage with industry leaders and learn as much as possible from experienced and knowledgeable people in the agricultural industry.’ This is something she couldn’t do without the help of CEF and her local Nyngan foundation.
Jorja has received a local grant, education partner co-funding from Charles Sturt University and additional financial support from a private philanthropic foundation which partners with CEF national.
She says the support from CEF has been ‘amazing’ and like so many others, she is appreciative of the stress it alleviates and that she is able to focus on her studies as a result.
LIVING AND WORKING ON THE LAND
Jorja is extremely aware that the knowledge and skills she is developing during her studies will be best put to use helping disadvantaged rural areas.
Her desire to give back to areas just like that of the home she loves is undeniable.
“Most of all I am interested in using the knowledge I earn during my education to give back to my local community. I have witnessed first-hand the benefits that a local vet can bring to the community and I hope I am able to do the same in the future.”
When asked where she sees herself 10 years from now, Jorja doesn’t hesitate when responding.
“The dream career would be living in a rural area having, and working a farm as well as doing some vet work in my local area. I plan to give back to rural and regional areas as soon as I have the chance.”