Farming Futures is an annual careers fair and dinner at the university, showcasing industries and businesses who are employing agriculture graduates. It was established in 2011 by Young Farming Champion Jo Newton. Sally Strelitz is an Outreach and Engagement Officer at UNE and supports student committees. “Jo identified there were four or five jobs per ag graduate, yet students felt like they had little awareness of where these jobs actually were. Farming Futures seeks to bridge this gap in the sector, “Sally says. “The inaugural careers fair had 11 booths and this year we are looking at about 40 different businesses from around Australia who are coming to exhibit and talk to our students.” Jo showed foresight in the overarching design of Farming Futures which has helped ensure its ongoing sustainability. Things like actively planning for succession, fostering a culture to support this and seeking mentors to guide future iterations of the committee are ideas rarely implemented in volunteer student organizations.
This sustainability has seen several Young Farming Champions take up positions on the committee, the latest being Meg. “Last year Meg was president of RSUS (Rural Science Undergraduate Society) and on the committee of Farming Futures and now she has moved to president of Farming Futures,” Sally says. “Meg is very open-minded. She is happy to take other people’s ideas on board, but she also knows what she wants. She is an inclusive leader. She’s not afraid to work hard and take a risk if she thinks something is a good idea. I see Meg’s career will be one to watch.”
We think Meg’s career is one to watch too