As a member of the first cohort of Bachelor of Agriculture students at CQUniversity' Meg McCosker always knew she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture.
She is now living her dream' employed as an Agricultural Workforce Officer for the Central Highlands and Central West Queensland hosted by CHRRUP' a not-for-profit organisation working to advance rural communities
"I grew up on a mixed cropping and livestock operation near Emerald and knew I wanted to pursue agriculture as a career'" Meg said.
"I chose to study through CQU's Emerald Campus as it allowed me to meet lots of people from around the district and also work in the industry during my studies.
"At that stage' I wasn't 100 per cent sure what I specifically wanted to do as a career. I thought studying my Bachelor of Agriculture through CQUniversity would help identify what opportunities were out there."
And she was right. Not only was she provided with opportunities to work in various sectors of the agricultural industry' but the course also introduced her to many people who have helped her along the way' some of whom she still gets the chance to work with.
Meg believes CQUniversity's Bachelor of Agriculture has prepared her well for her career.
"It's a great course and has improved a lot since it was first developed to cover the technical side of the industry'" she said.
"Skills wise' it taught me how to effectively and efficiently write reports which I use in my job almost daily. And I enjoyed the flexibility of online and on-campus study. My education wasn't impacted by the fact that many of my lecturers were based in Rockhampton – I still had access to excellent lecturers and guest speakers from around Queensland.
"The flexibility in delivery – in-person and online – makes it more accessible for anyone wanting to undertake the degree."
After graduating in 2018' Meg accepted a position with a local independent agronomy consultancy in Emerald.
"I thoroughly enjoyed working as an agronomist and it opened the door to many new opportunities' including my current role.
"That's the beauty of agriculture' in my view. It is so diverse and I didn't realise there were jobs such as agricultural workforce support roles' so I hadn't considered it as a career path.
"My current role has allowed me to combine my love for agriculture and working with producers to help cultivate new opportunities for them to improve their business."
Meg is one of seven AWOs across Queensland who form the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network.
Her role is to provide advice on workforce services and initiatives to all Queensland agribusinesses' regardless of commodity or organisation membership.
She has recently been working on a new agricultural training program' LEADAg' which provides high school students with the opportunity to learn and work alongside industry mentors to develop work ready skills to enter the agricultural workforce.
"I love the flexibility to be creative and analyse the shortfalls in the region' in terms of agricultural training' workforce and recruitment' and then collaborating with other stakeholders to develop strategies to overcome the issues."
Her advice to others considering a career in agriculture is to "do it!"
"There are so many different career pathways and so many opportunities available across Australia and overseas in agriculture. The people who work in the industry are also incredibly genuine and always willing to help'" she said.