Although it has always employed university graduates, agribusiness giant Ruralco recently started a specific program to give new graduates an opportunity to work in various parts of the business across the country before choosing their career path.

Story by Ken Eastwood

One year in, Ruralco’s experiment seems to be working really well. At the start of 2016, the agribusiness – which has more than 2000 employees in 40 businesses across Australia – started a two-year graduate program to give selected university graduates a taste of various aspects of the agribusiness world before they decide what they want to focus on. Four graduates made up the first cohort and the second mob will start in February 2017. The idea is that they have at least two different work placements in the first year, and then begin to specialise the following year.

“The feedback we’ve had from the graduates and the people who have worked with them has been fantastic,” says Travis Dillon, Ruralco’s CEO and managing director. “We’ve been taking graduates on for years. The challenge is looking after them, and mentoring and training them. This is just over and above our normal graduate program.”

Travis says that agribusinesses across Australia have a desperate need for agronomy graduates in particular, but Ruralco needs graduates in many other disciplines as well, including finance, marketing, accounting and engineering. “It doesn’t matter what course they’ve done; there’s a home for most graduates at Ruralco,” he says. “Basically we’re looking for someone with a passion for the agribusiness industry. We can teach the rest.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #110

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2017