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Ag students swap the Apple Isle for the Garden City

Two people next to wooden fence
Good mates Hector Grimshaw and Brad Lawrence packed up the Hilux and made the trek from Tassie to Toowoomba.

Given the option of a day’s worth of flights or a week’s worth of driving to relocate from Tasmania to Toowoomba, best friends Brad Lawrence and Hector Grimshaw chose to fill up Brad’s 2011 Hilux and head for their new life as University of Southern Queensland students.

Committed to moving their worldly possessions into Concannon College in time to start Semester 1, 2022, the pair of farmers’ sons have been meticulously – and quickly – planning their change of location after finding what they describe as ‘exactly’ what they wanted in a university degree.

“At the end of last year, I had just completed my second year of maritime engineering at the Australian Maritime College (AMC) and while I loved the engineering side of the course, it was not angling in the right direction for me,” Brad said.

“After a fair bit of contemplating, I ended up deciding to put my passion for agriculture and engineering together and see what I could find – and low and behold the University of Southern Queensland had exactly what I was after.”

The following day Brad applied to study a Bachelor of Engineering Science (Agricultural Engineering) at the University’s Toowoomba campus and put an action plan together to transfer his course credits from AMC.

“Later that week, I called Hector and told him all about my plans and the Agricultural Engineering study options offered by the University of Southern Queensland, and I think it’s safe to say that the rest is history.”

For mate Hector Grimshaw, it was the phone call he’d been waiting for.

“Growing up involved in beef farming and later working in grain harvest and handling made me interested to pursue further knowledge in the agriculture field, so I was immediately interested when Brad called to tell me about his Queensland plans,” he said.

“The course offered at the University of Southern Queensland looks to be the most comprehensive and broad ag engineering course in the country. The content offered is interesting and relevant to the agricultural field and I think it will open up many doorways to future career paths.”

Now enrolled in an Associate Degree of Engineering (Agricultural Engineering), Hector said he was keen to put his degree to use back in the beef industry to help improve efficiency and profitability.

For Brad, who has lived and worked on his family’s dairy farm in Meander near Launceston his whole life, he too plans to give back to the industry that’s underpinned his family story.

“My passion for the agriculture industry is definitely something that has developed over the years and is now to the point where I know that’s where my future lies,” he said.

“I also have an innate love for science and engineering, often wondering why things are the way they are. I am hoping to use this degree to further my understanding of the agriculture industry, not only in dairy but in all other branches of agriculture too.

“This degree will allow me to fully understand the behind the scenes of many important farming systems, which is vital if I wish to use them to maximum impact and effectiveness later in my farming career.

“Other universities offer agriculture courses and/or engineering separately, however, if you’re looking for a course where you can learn about hydraulics, machinery, soil and how to keep it healthy, irrigation, post-harvest treatments and so much more, then I think that the University of Southern Queensland is the best and only choice.”