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International ag sector opens its doors to young Australian

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article image Eighteen-year-old Alana Johnson has been reconsidering her career goals following a week-long placement at the Dow AgroSciences Global Research Centre in New Zealand

A program sponsored by Dow AgroSciences Australia and developed in partnership with PICSE is encouraging several young students to pursue career goals in agriculture.
Recently, 18-year-old Australian Alana Johnson spent a week working alongside international researchers at the Dow AgroSciences Global Research Centre in New Zealand. The amazing experience has the student considering a career in field research. She has just started her Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of New England.
Alana’s placement at the Waireka-based Research Centre near New Plymouth on the North Island was sponsored by Dow AgroSciences in partnership with the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) as part of a long term strategy to help overcome the agriculture sector’s skills shortage.
Matt Cahill, Dow AgroSciences’ Research and Development Leader Australia/New Zealand explains that the ag sector needs bright and talented young people like Alana to fill the skills gap created by an ageing workforce. The increasing demand for food resulting from the rapidly expanding world population provides young ag graduates with the opportunity to enjoy a long, fulfilling and varied career as they meet the scientific challenges of feeding the growing world.
Susanna Greig, Science Education Officer at PICSE, which is based at the University of New England, said Alana was selected from a pool of potential students Australia-wide based on her academic results and her interest in the sector. Though not from a farming background, Alana has been exposed to the agriculture sector, which has helped her develop a real passion for the industry.
Alana added that PICSE gave her the opportunity to learn about agriculture by attending camps and work placements at various facilities including the Australian Cotton Research Institute. However, the placement in New Zealand was an eye-opener for her as far as the enormous diversity of career options was concerned. She particularly found the field work identifying crop diseases a highlight of her experience.

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