MAX Miegel has always been passionate about agriculture, and this passion has pushed him to the top of the state.
Seventeen-year-old Max, Murray Bridge, won the Department of Education and Child Development’s Trade Schools for the Future SA school-based apprentice of the year award, announced earlier this month.
He achieved this by working at a Murray Bridge dairy farm while still attending Urrbrae Agricultural High School.
Max is originally from Coonalpyn but, at a young age, moved to Murray Bridge, where his family had a small block of land, which helped develop his interest in the industry.
“We always had sheep, cows and tractors running about,” he said.
Max has dyslexia and said he “struggled” in school.
“School just wasn’t for me,” he said. “As soon as I heard I could do an apprenticeship through school, I started looking.”
In year 10 he began working one day a week with dairyfarmers Ian, Julie and Trent Mueller, Murray Bridge, which grew to two days in year 11 and three days a week this year, for year 12. He helps out with milking two days a week and spends the rest of his time doing general work on the farm – his big interest.
Through the apprenticeship, he is able to graduate with his SA Certificate of Education as well as a Certificate III in Agriculture.
Max said the school and his family has been supportive with his attempt to combine his schooling with his farm work, with extensions on school exercises during the busy times on the farm, such as haymaking or seeding, while his mother and grandmother assisted by scribing his written work.
“It is more workload but because I am so passionate about farming, I’m happy to do it,” he said.
As he nears the end of his school years, Max said he was already managing to work fulltime hours at the dairy while still attending school a few days a week.
He was nominated for the award by the Urrbrae apprenticeship coordinator Russell Atwell.
“When I got nominated I didn’t expect it to go as far as it did,” Max said.
“I was pretty well speechless on the stage and I’m never been speechless in my life – I can talk for days.”
He said going from “struggling through school” to being the best in the state was a shock. As well as the official title, Max also won the SA Training Awards people’s choice award, decided by public vote.
His next heads to Canberra in November to compete for the national title.
“People say if you put your mind to it, you can do anything, and this is proof,” he said.
Max makes move forward with plan for future
ALONGSIDE his school and farm work, Max Miegel, Murray Bridge, has been busy.
Set to graduate at the end of this year, the year 12 student is already thinking about his next career opportunities.
He has invested prizemoney from his SA Training Awards people’s choice and school-based apprentice of the year wins into his newest venture.
“I love farming so much, I bought my own mower and I’ll do some contract haymaking,” he said.
Max has also got his own side business, supplying lamb to a Murray Bridge butcher.
“I go to the Mount Pleasant and Murray Bridge markets to buy lambs to fatten up,” he said.
Max has also started his own Illawarra stud – Lindsay View Illawarras – with two dairy heifers and a cow and he has plans to introduce more cow families, alongside his Gracey, Duchess and Scarlett family cows.
He has been actively involved in showing cattle – with Glenbrook Duchess 84 and Glenbrook Gracey 15 at this year’s Mount Pleasant show and two-year-old Duchess 84 in the competition ring at this year’s Royal Adelaide Show.
“I like the showing of cows, and the social side,” he said.
His plans for the future include continuing working for the Muellers as well as building his businesses and potentially even investing in some property.
“I want to take a loan out when I turn 18 so I can lease some land and hopefully buy my own land in the next few years,” he said.