8 Jun 2023

Old Grammarian story: Ruby Riordan (2021)

An opportunity of a lifetime to take a gap year has paved the way for a career in agriculture.

Ruby’s decision to take a gap year after completing her VCE in 2021 has proven to be an extraordinary opportunity that has set the course for a flourishing career in agriculture. Fuelled by her passion for animals and an interest in the agricultural industry, Ruby embarked on a transformative journey by working on cattle stations in South Australia and Western Australia.

In her current role as a station hand and machinery operator at Riordan Grains, Ruby has been further immersed in the captivating world of agricultural operations. Ruby plans to continue her pathway by pursuing further studies in agriculture, building upon her practical experience, and deepening her knowledge in the field.

We asked Ruby a few questions about her career and her Ballarat Grammar memories.

Tell us about your time at Ballarat Grammar.

I moved from Geelong to Ballarat Grammar in 2018 as a Year 9 student in Larritt. The boarding community was my favourite part of my time at school. Being a boarder has shaped who I am today, and being part of such a great community was a huge privilege, and I will never forget my time in Woodbridge House.

I was involved in many service opportunities, such as the Red Shield Appeal door knock, the Smith Family reading buddy program, Days for Girls, and many other local programs. I participated in many sports, such as tennis, netball, and cricket. I was also lucky enough to be able to go on Round Square exchange to Gordonstoun School in Year 10 for three months. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and an experience I will forever remember. I made some amazing friendships with people I am still in contact with today and was able to travel to the UK and learn so many skills of independence. My Round Square exchange was a highlight of my time at Ballarat Grammar.

What ignited your passion for your career choice?

I have always enjoyed working outdoors with animals and machines and learning skills, which is why I chose to go down the agricultural pathway. I began working on a sheep station in SA at the start of 2022, then moved to Broome, WA, to a cattle station called Anna Plains Station for the last nine months of 2022.

Moving back to my hometown this year to begin understanding the ins and outs of my dad’s business, Riordan Grains, has allowed me to expand my knowledge from cattle and sheep and now grains, fertiliser, and the goat meat industry.

Can you share some key defining moments in your career/life?

Working at Anna Plains Station in WA was an opportunity of a lifetime. Being able to make relationships with people on the other side of the country allowed my network to grow. As well as the people I met, I learned so much about the Northern beef industry and how different it is from the Victoria beef industry.

How did Ballarat Grammar prepare you for your career?

Ballarat Grammar taught me persistence and organisation through the studying process and compulsory prep sessions in the boarding house. I was able to learn many skills of self-discipline and motivation as I spent most of my senior years doing online studies. Ballarat Grammar allows all its students to be whoever they are, and it is a community that has truly shaped who I am today through its encouragement, acceptance, and loyalty to its students even after graduation.

What are your future career goals/aspirations?

I plan to continue to grow my skill set within the agricultural sector and see personal growth. In the short term, I plan to attend Marcus Oldham in the next few years to study Agricultural Business to further develop my knowledge of business development and farm production.

What advice would you give to current students or other recent leavers?

My advice to students is that you should do whatever you need to do to succeed. Continue to do things you enjoy, whether your job, university course or even the people you surround yourself with. By surrounding yourself with something you like, you will one day find your passion and purpose. Emerge yourself in all your relationships, near and far, to build yourself a support network for life. And finally, work hard; whatever you put in is what you’ll get out.

To share your story or if you know an Old Grammarian who has an interesting career or achievement, please email [email protected]