Career decisions – How did you make them ?

I am currently on a journey with UNSW students who are part of a Global Consulting Group initiative to support agriculture to attract the best and the brightest

I am curious what drove your career decision pathways?

I remember in Year 11 at my rural high school  I had early entry into a Arts Law degree at ANU – not a profession I had a genuine interest in but it was a signal of what was possible

Far too many young Australians from Rural and Regional and Remote OZ don’t get these signals.

Its time for us all to step up and say ensuring “equity and excellence” is our joint responsibility



How does agriculture as a career choice reach the hearts and minds of young people (and their parents)

In an ideal world agriculture as a career pathway would have equal opportunity as any other sector to reach the hearts and minds of young people (and their parents – particularly important for 1st generation Australians)

School-to-work pathways have changed dramatically and traditional routes to work have been described as irrelevant (FYA, 2018)

The journey of young people through education into the world of work and the influences on their planning and decision making, including aspirations, sources of information and formal, school-based career education is a complex web to encounter.

Just getting in the school door can be very challenging for all sectors not just agriculture

Agriculture does have some very successful initiatives including the Action4Agriculture suite of programs Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize

Our secret herb and spice is our Young Farming Champions ( they know how to change hearts and minds)

Others that come to mind are Cows Create Careers run by Jaydee Events and Australian Wool Innovation’s suite of programs that introduce young people to the world of working with wool

As this graphic highlights agriculture needs to attract a very diverse workforce in the next ten years. I am excited to be working with a team of bright young minds at University of NSW through a partnership with the Global Consulting Group to come up with innovative ways we can attract the best and brightest into careers in Research, Development, Innovation and IT

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I met the team last week and we started our relationship by getting to know each other and our motivations. All of the team are either engineering students or science/commerce students and none have an agricultural background.

The students are supported by an expert from Accenture

I think I am going to learn a great deal and we can get a win:win for everyone

The Global Consulting Group (GCG) is a charity which provides pro-bono consulting services to other charities and not-for-profits.

We do this by connecting university students with experienced professionals who then work together to solve business problems for other  charities, combining the energy and passion of today’s youth with the experience and wisdom of our industry leaders.

The organisation currently has more than 150 volunteers across several locations in Australia and has completed over 150 projects for clients such  as the United Nations, Tedx, Our Big Kitchen and Shelterbox. GCG is sponsored by Bain and Monitor Deloitte, and has informal partnerships with  a range of reputed consulting firms.



Time for agriculture to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future  

Its was wonderful to read that Australian universities are reporting a significant increase in young people studying agriculture careers.

If the agriculture sector is going to effectively leverage this increase in workforce talent and increase growth we must integrate workforce planning into our core strategic planning processes and establish a clear action plan that covers us now and well into the future.

Over the next six weeks Picture You in Agriculture will be posting their “Crafting Careers” series written by journalist Mandy McKeesick.

Crafting Careers is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for us to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to agriculture careers in schools
  • ensure there are multiple touch points along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources and
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach – we are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with

As you will see from the research quoted below agriculture is not alone in being behind the eight ball in planning in advance for its workforce needs. The time has never been better to get ahead of the curve and ensure agriculture attracts, develops and retains the best and brightest

According to Ranstad half of employers fail to plan a year in advance for changes in their workforce, and only 13% plan for a two-year period. Rather than being reactionary, agriculture can commit to being an employer of choice and ahead of the curve in ensuring we have the skill sets needed to not only thrive but also grow our sector .

Skilled talent shortages are expected to persist across Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region – even in countries where growth is slowing – due to the restructuring of many economies, labour markets and large multi-national organisations.

The region faces nothing short of a corporate leadership crisis – it’s time for organisations to re-think their approach to attracting and developing leadership talent.

To predict how this will affect agriculture we have the opportunity to :

1. Assess the current strategic position of the sector  – including factors such as the size and diversity of workforce, business goals, long-term plans for expansion or diversification, and location-specific circumstances.

2. Review existing talent – including managers and employees at all levels – and flag those whose functions will be critical to future success and how they can be up-skill these vital team members.

Consider the political and economic environment our sector is likely to operate in within the next two to five years; for example, employment regulation and the number of women in senior roles are likely to increase during this time.

We should also think about what additional talent we will need and the experience, knowledge, skills and capability required.

Effective workforce planning in the coming decade means our sector will need to use a mix of enabling tools, systems and strategies to attract, develop and retain an increasingly mobile and skilled workforce.

Adapted from predicting your future employment needs | Randstad Australia

Did you know?

Agriculture graduates enjoy strong full-time employment outcomes on graduation, with a full-time employment rate of 79.5 per cent, compared to the graduate average of 72.2 per cent. Source