The recent AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship workshop held in Wagga Wagga saw fourteen university students accelerate their professional development by networking and learning from important agricultural industry stakeholders in Wagga – three of the scholars are sponsored by Westpac.
Jack Lane (Dubbo, NSW), Thomas Taylor (Grenfell, NSW) and William Scott (Cairns Bay, Tas), are all recipients of Westpac’s inaugural involvement in the program and are each in their final two years of study in a financial services related degree linked to agriculture.
To assist their professional growth and business acumen knowledge, the Scholars heard from industry experts and networked with stakeholders during the workshops this week. The three Scholars also spent some time with the Westpac team.
Westpac’s Regional General Manager for Southern NSW, Sam Gaston, said the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship was a valuable opportunity for the industry to support future leaders and entrepreneurs as they looked to embark on their careers.
“Gaining valuable workplace experience, expanding professional networks and having the right support at the onset of a career are crucial elements that will help give these finance students an added edge, with agricultural links,” Mr Gaston said .
“There are a lot of opportunities in regional and rural Australia, that’s why it’s imperative the next generation of farmers and agribusiness specialists are introduced to the many possibilities that await them. The long-term benefits of sustainability and innovation are enormous - not just for Jack, Thomas and William but their communities and the agricultural industries that support the Australian economy.”
Growing up on a small irrigation farm between Dubbo and Narromine has helped Jack Lane to understand the important lessons in farming life. A third-year student studying a double degree in a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Bachelor of Business at the University of New England, Jack learnt early on how important industry connections were.
“I’ve always believed that professional networks and building business relationships are an important part of a person’s development, that’s why I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet new contacts through the AgriFutures Horizon workshops this week,” Jack said. “My focus is to build a career in agribusiness and I look forward to learning more and meeting new people through my association with Westpac.”
Helping Australian primary producers create new trade links and revenue streams through better agribusinesses connections in a growing Asian market is Thomas Taylor’s focus. Raised on his family’s mixed farming enterprise operation in Grenfell (NSW), Thomas is in his third year of a Bachelor of Commerce and Liberal Studies, majoring in International Business and Chinese at the University of Sydney.
“This week’s workshops, and time with the Westpac team, has taught me an incredible lesson on the different paths I can take to achieve my long-term goal of gaining valuable experience in the Asian and Australian markets,” Thomas said. “Ultimately I’d like to help other agribusinesses and use my expertise back on my family farm. Through my Scholarship, I hope to fast track my career by learning from real life workplace experiences.”
Currently studying a double Degree of Economics and Business at the University of Tasmania, and a member of the sixth-generation Scott Brothers apple orchard, William Scott is on a mission to make a change by educating and increasing awareness of Australian agriculture. Having been raised in Cairns Bay, in Tasmania’s Far South, William thrived on learning about the new opportunities to improve his skills and knowledge at the workshops.
“Having industry stakeholders share their insights with me this week has been incredible. Through this great experience I am becoming more aware of what I need to work on to further develop my knowledge in both the agriculture and finance industries so that I can enhance and advance the industry,” William said.
This week’s workshop was part of the benefits fourteen university students from across Australia received when awarded with a 2018 AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship back in May. The Scholarship is in recognition of the students’ leadership potential, commitment to the future of Australian agriculture and comes with work placements and a $5,000 bursary to assist with study and living expenses for two years of the students’ agricultural related degree.