Farmers of the future, unite

Farmers of the future, unite

With job vacancies now outnumbering applicants in some sectors, agricultural graduates are in the box seat, and there’s no better place for students to explore the range of possibilities than at 2017’s UNE Farming Futures event.

Dr Janelle Wilkes, course coordinator of agriculture at UNE, said careers in agriculture are now more diverse than ever. Her recent survey of UNE agricultural graduates revealed that not only were 97 per cent employed; they were in agribusiness, agronomy, education, animal nutrition and research roles.

“There is growing appreciation of agricultural degrees and the transferable skills that our UNE graduates develop,” Dr Wilkes said.

“Our graduates have practical skills making them work ready, with many going on to further study to enhance their employment prospects. Over half of all agricultural students at UNE are now female, challenging traditional stereotypes. And according to Dr Emma Doyle, Lecturer in the School of Environmental and Rural Science, gender barriers have been broken down.

“Technology and various on-farm improvements mean that the physical side of farm work is no longer an issue for women,” she said.

“Besides, a career in agriculture these days can involve anything from being an agribank manager to working in marketing, management or economics, or even as a researcher like me. At Farming Futures, all students, but especially female students can see that there are no limitations to what they can do.”

Farming Futures, to be held on Friday 28 July 2017, showcases the range of careers available across our agricultural industries. Organised entirely by current UNE agricultural students, it features a careers fair, presentations and laboratory sessions, and an industry dinner.

Chairperson Kelly Gorter, who is in the final year of a Bachelor of Animal Science degree, said 30 companies will be represented at 2017’s event, which attracts hundreds of secondary school and university students from across the State. For secondary students, it’s a chance to learn about the degrees UNE offers, future career options and to talk to tertiary students about their experiences. UNE’s tertiary students enjoy the opportunity to develop some important skills in hosting the event, and invaluable networking.

“Many of the companies represented offer internships, so it’s a great chance for tertiary students to build useful connections for future work experience and possibly even secure a job,” Kelly said.

“Future Farmers gives all students the chance to speak to people in roles they might be considering and for potential employers to meet the bright minds that are the future of agriculture.”

The industry dinner will feature guest speakers Prue and David Bondfield and a charity auction in support of BlazeAid. The Bondfields were among the first to breed Charolais cattle in Australia and operate one of the country’s largest stud beef operations – Palgrove – at Dalveen, Queensland. They were The Weekly Times/Coles Australian Farmers of the Year in 2016 and 2015 Kondinin/ABC Rural Livestock Producers of the Year.

Source: UNE