Study agriculture full time at Tocal
Why study at Tocal?
Tocal is a leading provider of agricultural training throughout the nation. Students receive a high level of practical training as well as the knowledge required to enter a large range of agricultural careers.
The CB Alexander campus is a part of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and is located in the picturesque Hunter Valley, only an hour north of Newcastle and 30 mins from Maitland.
Tocal is the only residential, agricultural college in New South Wales and has large commercial farms where students gain valuable, first hand experience in operating and managing agricultural businesses.
Who should come to Tocal?
School leavers and others interested in building a rewarding career in general agriculture, horse breeding and training or agribusiness will benefit greatly by studying at Tocal. Our courses prepare students to take up roles that lead to many satisfying careers on the land including:
- Abattoir worker
- Agricultural journalist
- Agricultural sales representative
- Animal health inspector
- Animal nutritionist
- Animal technician
- Dairy herd manager
- Farm management consultant
- Farm manager
- Field officer
- Horse massage therapist
- Jackaroo or jillaroo
- Landcare worker
- Livestock buyer
- Pest and weed controller
- Property valuer
- Quality assurance officer
- Regulatory affairs officer
- Rural contractor
- Rural finance counsellor
- Stock & station agent
- Technical officer
- Vet nurse
- Vocational education teacher
Refer to the Tocal College Prospectus to find out more about career prospects available to students after graduating.
What will I study?
Studying full time at Tocal makes use of the College's farm resources at every opportunity. As a student you will investigate case studies of real farm problems over a wide range of topics. You will develop knowledge and skills that are relevant and provide practical solution to modern agriculture. This is backed up by practical work on the College and other commercial farms as well as intensive, practical skills training. You will also experience a variety of valuable, personal development opportunities designed to develop your communication, team work and decision making and make you sought after by employers.
Depending on the course you are taking you may study in areas such as:
- Broodmare and foal care
- Chemical application accreditation
- Crops and pasture production
- Environmental sustainability
- Farm maintenance and welding
- Farm safety
- Fence construction
- First Aid & Emergency response
- Horse breeding
- Horse education, breaking and training
- Horse health and husbandry
- Horse nutrition
- Horse riding and stock work
- Livestock exhibition and assessment
- Livestock feeding and nutrition
- Livestock health and welfare
- Livestock production (beef, sheep, horse, dairy and poultry)
- Livestock selection and breeding
- Machinery operation and maintenance (including tractors and their equipment, quads, side by sides, 4WDs and motorbikes)
- Meat judging
- Plant pests and weeds
- Precision farming
- Weaner and yearling handling (horses)
- Wool classing
- Working dogs
Extra-curricular activities are made available through the College, sometimes at the student's full expense but often subsidised.
Fulltime study programs
There are two entry level, fulltime study programs at Tocal's CB Alexander campus. When successfully completed, both entry level programs currently result in the award of the AHC30116 Certificate III in Agriculture.
- The Tocal Agricultural Production program provides training in a wide variety of skills and knowledge. It prepares graduates for entry into a diverse variety of Australian agricultural industries and enterprises.
- The Tocal Stock Horse Breeding and Training program* specialises in the skills and knowledge needed to breed, train and work with horses as well as providing some general agricultural training.
*From 2020 it is intended to utilize the release of the ACM30817 Certificate III in Performance Horse qualification and to deliver the Horse Breeding and Training program within it. The basic structure of the course will not be affected
An advanced course, the AHC40116 Certificate IV in Agriculture (Farm Supervisor and Agribusiness program) is available as a fulltime study program at Tocal's CB Alexander campus. It provides the skills and knowledge for graduates to work as senior farm hands, farm supervisors and in agribusiness.
First year students gain experience on Tocal's commercial farms and others throughout the Hunter Valley. Practical work includes working with beef cattle, horses, dairy cattle, sheep, farm machinery, poultry, pastures and fodder crops and farm maintenance. Students are also trained in a range of practical farm skills covering livestock husbandry, tractors and machinery, fencing, motorbikes and quads, chainsaws and other useful skills.
Second year students also have the opportunity to complete two, month long blocks of practical work experience on cooperating farms throughout Australia. Many students choose to complete at least one placement on an extensive, pastoral property in northern or central Australia.
Tours to leading farms, agribusinesses and research facilities are a regular part of the course. Industry tours to specific farming regions throughout NSW also occur annually. In some years optional tours to New Zealand or Japan are organised to study agriculture in countries with close trading ties with Australia.
What are the admission requirements?
Students are required to have completed year 10 or equivalent, to meet minimum requirements in English and Maths and have a strong interest in a career in agriculture or horse husbandry. There may be advantages for some students in completing Year 12, particularly if considering going on to the AHC40116 Certificate IV in Agriculture course or higher studies.
Most students gain entry to the AHC40116 Certificate IV in Agriculture course after successful completion of their Certificate III level qualification. Direct entry is possible provided prerequisite skills and knowledge are adequately demonstrated. Normally this requires, as a minimum, completion of the HSC Primary Industries and/or Agriculture AND significant farm experience e.g. normally equivalent to working one year, full time on a farm that is able to provide experience in a wide range of work.
How long does the course take?
- Both Certificate III in Agriculture programs (ie. Agricultural Production and Horse breeding and Training) normally require one year of fulltime study to complete requirements;
- The Certificate IV in Agriculture course is normally attempted by students in their second year. It is a fulltime course that concludes with a second, and final, off campus placement for one month in mid October;
- While studying the Certificate IV in Agriculture fulltime course, it is possible to attempt the AHC50116 Diploma in Agriculture online. Resources are available to support Diploma studies but in order to complete it within the same year, students must be disciplined and able to organise their own independent study. Successful completion of the Diploma provides considerable credit towards a Degree at several Australian universities [details].
How do I apply?
Before enrolling in first year, students will need to decide if they want to take the general Agricultural Production program or specialised Stock Horse Training and Breeding program. Then:
- Complete the application and medical history forms indicated below. (Online preferred)
- Provide copies of your most recent school results (plus work references if having left school for over a year)
- Arrange an informal interview at the College. Interviews are held during Open Days. Students who are unable to attend an open day can arrange an interview at another time. In some cases it may be appropriate for you to have an interview by phone.
When should I apply?
- Applications for the Horse Training and Breeding program close by end of October
- Applications for the Agricultural Production program close in mid December. Later applications may be considered in January if places are still available.
- Register to receive Tocal information by mail or email
- Download the Tocal College Student Handbook
- Download the course prospectus and Tocal College - Full time course descriptions
- Attend one of our open days
- Apply online (preferred method) or download an application form
- Check out our articulation arrangements (credit for study at Tocal) with Australian universities
- Contact us