Project highlights opportunities in agricultural sector

15 November 2021 | News

A hugely successful event organised by a group of Lincoln University Future Leader scholars won a recent on-campus award for helping current students to better understand agricultural career paths.

The event, called Your Future in New Zealand Agriculture, was held on campus earlier this year and involved various industry professionals discussing their careers and giving students insights into their future potential with an agri-based degree.

MC’d by rural broadcaster Sarah Perriam, it attracted a turnout of around 150 people, and the scholars were able to recruit high-profile speakers including Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor and NZIPIM CEO Stephen Macaulay.  

They also organised for a panel of eight agriculture graduates, most of whom had attended Lincoln, to discuss their career experiences at the event.

The initiative won Project of the Year at the 2021 Future Leader Awards Evening last month, thanks to the hard work of group members Angus Grant, Isabel King, Olivia Inglis-Tobin, Sarah Sawyer, and project group leader Kate Smitstra.

"As the project group leader, I could not have been more pleased with how the event unfolded," Kate said. "The turnout blew myself and my teammates out of the water."

It was incredibly rewarding to be able to host such a vast range of rural professionals who have inspired Lincoln students about their future in the agricultural industry and excited them about the boundless opportunities their study path can offer.

Other Future Leader scholars who attended the event were full of praise for the insights it provided.

"It personally benefited me as I got the chance to connect with different professionals and learn vital information about the steps they took to get to where they are now," said Fergus Lee, winner of the 2021 First Year Servant Leader Award.

"One in particular was George Letham, who talked to me about NZIPIM and even put me in contact with the student rep there, which is going to open up my knowledge more."

Sophie Williams, who won the 2021 First Year Future Leader of the Year award, had three main takeaways from the event.

"The first is shadowing – if you don’t know about a particular aspect of a job, you need to get involved and start learning about it," she said. "The second is networking – putting your foot in the door and not being afraid to ask about what opportunities are out there.

"And the third is applying – apply for any job that you are interested in, despite the eligibility criteria."

Future Leader Programme Coordinator Ilse von Hirschberg said all third year scholars are tasked with initiating a project of their choice and working on the delivery with a team of first and second year scholars.

"The projects reflect the passion of the project lead and aim to benefit the community and/or students on campus," she said.

"As a whole, the programme aims to develop student leaders while they actively contribute to the university and the community.

"The programme seeks to bring the values of the university to life as a living lab of experiential leadership learning."

Learn more about the Future Leader Scholarship programme.