A Decade of Agriculture Graduates’ Employability and Career Pathways

Janelle Wilkes, Adrienne Burns

Abstract


There is increasing pressure on universities to produce employable graduates. Currently, the University of New England (UNE) has a suite of undergraduate agriculture courses. The project used an evidence based approach which evaluated graduate’s employability based on their choice of course and the relevance of Australian Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for Agriculture, which underpin UNE’s agriculture courses. The past decade of UNE agriculture graduates (2005-2016) were invited to participate in an online survey. Of the respondents, 95-100% agreed each TLO was relevant to their current employment. The initial industries that graduates were employed in after graduation were agronomy, agribusiness and animal sciences. Of all graduates who are currently employed in industry, three quarters had changed employers, with two thirds moving to another agricultural industry since commencing work. Over half of the respondents had engaged in additional study from short courses to PhDs, with about 20% studying to become vocational, primary or secondary teachers. For many graduates on-campus residential college life was important for developing positive connections in learning, social activities and employment networks which persisted post-graduation. Survey results were used to inform the development of an online career pathway resource for prospective and current students, and information from the TLO survey has been fed back into unit and course reviews.

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