Glimpse of future in farming

Farming Futures chairperson, Jo Newton, the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Northern Grower Services manager Sharon O’Keefe, managing director of Meat and Livestock Australia Ltd Scott Hansen and Farming Futures vice-chairperson Felicity McLeod. THE University of New England’s rising stars of agriculture gained a glimpse into their career futures at two events held on Friday.

Agricultural students had the chance to mingle with industry representatives at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farming Futures dinner on Friday night after Armidale’s new Agricultural and Agribusiness Careers Fair was held earlier that day.

The events were organised by UNE’s Rural Science Undergraduate Society and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) UNE with attendance at the industry dinner more than doubling in size after last year’s inaugural event.

Some 250 students and industry representative attended the dinner, held at the Armidale Ex-Services Club while the careers fair attracted around 260 people.

Farming Futures committee chairperson Jo Newton said the events were born last year from a conversation between herself and fellow student Jo Robinson about agricultural career opportunities.

“We talked a bit more and said ‘let’s create a forum where students that are studying ag can meet with people who are working in the sector and maybe we can get a few prestigious graduates back to talk to students and try to inspire them a bit,” she said.

Ms Newton said after the inaugural dinner last October a grant from the School of Environmental and Rural Science allowed for the event to expand to include the careers fair this year.

The fair was open to UNE students, secondary school students and teachers, TAFE students, and students from other NSW universities.

“The feedback from companies so far has been phenomenal, amazing, they’re all looking forward to coming back next year,” she said.

“I never thought that the idea of Jo and I had of connecting students and industry together would grow into an event with 22 companies, with 250 people at the dinner.

“To see the enthusiasm from the committee, from the students at the dinner, that came to the careers fair is just unbelievable.”

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