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Career Harvest helps launch new Bachelor of Ag

NCrawley at Melb Uni resized

Career Harvest Director Nigel Crawley was on hand to launch the University of Melbourne’s newly designed Bachelor of Agriculture at the end of July. The new degree has been developed with the input of industry, providing a broad degree with a great deal of relevance.

Nigel spoke at the launch:

“The Global Dining Boom and predicted food shortage is a well documented story.

If you have taken note of any of the multitude of facts and figures quoted all over the world about food production requirements and the need to produce more from less, the one fact that is unequivocal, is that people will be the source of the solution – or in fact the many solutions that will be required on an ongoing basis.

Education as always, but potentially now more than ever, is pivotal in tackling these problems and developing the solutions we will need well into the future.

Therefore, the development of the new degree launched today by Melbourne University both recognises the need for its students to maintain pace and relevance with industry, but also shows leadership with regard to course design.

As the industry changes, career paths will also change and traditional career paths will cease to exist in many cases.

The integration of plant science, animal science and Ag economic fundamentals into a broad degree, ensures students will graduate with a greater understanding of the industry and the broader challenges it faces.

And the broader degree in my opinion offers students a greater opportunity from an employment perspective.

There is a new generation becoming interested in agriculture and we must keep pace with teaching methods. 5 years ago, 1 in 10 students at Junee High school in NSW were studying agriculture. It is now 1 in 3, so the desire for students to learn more about our sector is growing.

We also know through our assessment of graduates nationally through our GradLink program, that more and more students undertaking agricultural studies are not coming from farming backgrounds nor have a meaningful opportunity to develop practical skills.

Practical skills or exposure to practical farming systems is a key differentiation for employers when assessing graduates in our experience.

With a greater focus on utilising the resource of Dookie for practical education elements of the degree, Melbourne University graduates can take advantage of this opportunity. Having broadacre, dairy, horticulture and livestock enterprises on a commercial scale in one location available for teaching is a unique opportunity for students.

Agriculture can be taught, but it also can be experienced, and the utilisation of Dookie enables students to benefit from both.


And for graduates, the employment opportunities in our sector I suggest are the envy of most other faculties.

There are 2 myths I have always heard about a career in agriculture anecdotally, and they are that you can’t earn a decent wage and you can’t live in the city.

Well, the facts from our annual Salary Review which analysis’s salary details of 13500 employees across almost 140 agribusiness companies nationally, paint a very different picture;

In our HR Review of over 90 Agribusiness employers completed last month, the data showed that

  • 88% of companies increased their base salary for employee’s last year
  • 5% indicated that salaries would again increase this year
  • The average base salary (Excluding superannuation) across the 200 roles benchmarked increased 4% for the year ending June 30 – CPI was 1.3%
  • 44% of roles are city based and that percentage is trending upwards.

So from a career perspective as a graduate, Agriculture looks like a pretty good place to be for some time yet.

So I congratulate Melbourne University, and in particular the dean and the academic team on their foresight and willingness to adapt their teaching methods to keep pace with industry by launching this exciting new degree.”