Its never too late to upskill
Frank Manintveld has always had a passion for farming and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. He loves being outside and working with animals and has been doing the job he loves almost his whole life.
He lives on a 172-acre dairy farm just outside Warragul that is home to 180 Jersey cows. He is originally from Holland, having lived there until his early twenties before moving to Australia in1960. Frank (83) studied agriculture in Holland once he finished school, and always knew it was what he wanted to do. “You gotta love to be a farmer to really succeed. It’s hard work,” he said.
Before he was allowed to come to Australia though, he had to enlist in the army for 18months which is mandatory in Holland. He was offered officer training but turned it down to be able to move to Australia. He has lived on his farm since 1963 with his late wife Margaret, carrying on her family’s business.
He only retired about three years ago, and still helps out a little here and there and does the books. One of his three sons, Evan, now works the farm and continues on the family tradition.
But about six years ago he decided that he wanted to improve his bookkeeping skills and at the age of 77 went back to studying. What was supposed to be a short course turned into a six-year University degree. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration Management in May 2020 from Laureate International Universities. “I tried to do a bit more bookkeeping and ended up studying a whole degree,” he said.
The course was online and Frank went through a steep learning curve. His professors were incredibly supportive, and one of them took the time on a Sunday afternoon to walk Frank through how to use their online system. “Using the computer was the hardest part about the course,” he said.
He continued to receive a lot of support throughout his studies, and his professors always encouraged him to keep going. And he is grateful he persevered. “Anything I learned in my business degree has been applicable to our farm,” he said. But the best advice he received wasn’t a business model but a mindset. “You learn more from your mistakes than you do from anything else,” he said. “If you don’t know something, ask.”
Frank’s advice to anyone who is interested in upskilling is that it’s never too late.