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Grand ambitions fostered by CQ University study program
Nicholas McBride has just wrapped up the first year of his Bachelor of Agriculture, and feels energised about his future.
With a rural background and a passion for living on the land Mr McBride declares, "A career in agriculture is the only choice for me."
"It's been great to find a course that facilitates an appreciation of big-picture agriculture. Offering the combination of practical experience and theoretical delivery has illustrated the broad range of career options available to me," he said.
The course Mr McBride is undertaking is the CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture, launched in 2016 in conjunction with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges.
The first year of the degree focusses on practical training, utilising industry-scale production facilities at Emerald Agricultural College and throughout central Queensland. Topics include introductions to managing crops, soil, irrigation, and livestock production, as well as the development of agribusiness planning and agricultural research skills.
"This year we had regular training excursions to local producer's properties, accessed research facilities like Belmont Research Station, conducted cropping trials, and had the opportunity to hear international lecturers and experienced industry representatives," explained Mr McBride.
Years two and three of the degree incorporates more tertiary studies, industry placements, and subject specialisation to help students move towards a preferred sector such as cropping, livestock, or agricultural business.
"I'm looking forward to next year too because I can start to focus on areas of particular importance to me. I am very interested in cattle and nutrition. I think more research needs to go into providing food for the world's population with greater efficiency and less waste," said Mr McBride.
"Becoming part of an industry that can shape the world's future by successfully feeding a growing population would be extremely rewarding and fulfilling."
Thanks to the right balance of theory and practical skills training, graduates of the CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture are awarded both a vocational qualification (AHC50110 Diploma of Agriculture) and a tertiary qualification (Bachelor of Agriculture) – a combination that puts them in good stead to contribute across all levels of the agri-supply chain.
"Food and fibre are in growing demand world-wide, so production sectors drive the call for skilled agricultural workers and researchers. In support of that, the provision of animal feed and agribusiness services also require adequate staffing," said Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges CEO, Mark Tobin.
"There is a particularly strong demand for higher-level qualifications in agribusiness and agricultural science, which is what the CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture is helping to prepare students for."
Photo caption: Nicholas McBride (far right) with other first year CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture students on a field trip to study pastures and soils.