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Agri Careers 2017

On Thursday March 30, the Irish Farmers Journal hosted their annual Agri Careers exhibition in the RDS in Ballsbridge. With over 1,000 vacant job positions on offer at the event, there was a lot of scope for the recruitment requirements of employers and job seekers in the agri-food industry. There was also a lot more on offer at the exhibition; including a Schools Zone catering towards second level students, a main stage where various panels and talks took place throughout the day, and over 60 stands of different agri-food companies as well as universities such as UCD, GMIT and IT Carlow. The Ag Tech Village was a new stage area used to highlight the best use of agricultural technology at Agri Careers 2017.

Agri Aware interns and UCD students Ellen Smith and Gillian Richardson with Philip Cocoman and Jeanne Kelly from Ornua at Agri Careers in the RDS

Irish Farmers Journal Interns Peter Thomas Keaveney and Matthew Halpin at Agri Careers in the RDS

UCD Student and Agri Aware Intern Gillian speaking with Deirdre from Dairygold at Agri Careers in the RDS

Agri Aware’s Executive Director Deirdre O’Shea speaking at Agri Careers in the RDS

Over 20 of Agri Aware’s patrons had stands at the fair. These patrons included Bord Bia, Ornua, Irish Farmers Journal, Dairygold, Kepak and many more. Most of the companies were showcasing the broad range of opportunities and options available to school leavers, graduates and experienced professionals in the agri-food sector. Bord Bia advertised their food marketing programme aimed at post graduates, while Alltech ran a competition for a trip to Kentucky and the chance to attend their conference.

Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea spoke at the main stage alongside Jack Kennedy, Eoin Lowry and Catriona Murphy of Irish Farmers Journal; John Fitzgerald of Bank of Ireland and Stan Lawlor of Grassland Agro. The talk focused on the career path of the panel, who are all very successful people in the agri-food industry. The speakers talked about how they got into the role they are in today; whether it was a huge career change or just a chance they took. They then spoke about what daily life is like in their respective roles and offered some advice to those considering a career in the agri-food industry. Deirdre and Catriona spoke about the importance of balance between work and life to sustain an appetite and energy levels needed to perform well in any job position.

Executive Director of Agri Aware Deirdre O’Shea, IASTA President George Dennis and Agri Aware intern and UCD student Gillian Richardson at their study guide panel at Agri Careers in the RDS

Deirdre also spoke on a panel in the Schools Zone with Agri Aware intern and third year UCD Food and Agribusiness Management student Gillian Richardson who is from a beef, tillage and sheep farm in Tullow, County Carlow and IASTA president George Dennis. This talk honed in on the Leaving Cert study guide resources from the Journal and how best to use these resources. IASTA members write the Study Guides while Agri Aware edit and proof the guides and they are published as part of the Irish Farmers Journal every week. These study guides cover all aspects of the Agricultural Science Leaving Cert syllabus from soil science to hill sheep production and everything in between. Gillian spoke about how she used the guides when she sat her Leaving Cert three years ago. Deirdre spoke about the other great resources that Agri Aware provide such as the textbook Pastures New, the Plant Identification Aid and the course Revision Aid as well as how the Irish Farmers Journal itself is a great resource for students. Finally, all three panellists offered some advice on how to best prepare for the upcoming Agricultural Science exam in June. Many other panels and fun-filled activities such as an “Are you smarter than your ag teacher” quiz took place in the school zone.

The event was a huge success, reaching even higher numbers than last year. Second level students, third level students and job seekers with an interest in the agri-food industry saw all the opportunities in the sector that were broadcasted at the event including job vacancies, undergraduate programmes, postgraduate programmes and more. There were also lots of fun, games and prizes available at the event. Looking forward to seeing what is on offer next year.