Youth opportunities in ag sector - Spence Dix and Co

Youth opportunities in ag sector

There’s a growing need for young people in the vast world of agriculture and the opportunities are broader and more diverse than many may think. These opportunities will continue to present themselves as more in the current workforce retire and the need for skilled, passionate people to replace them becomes imminent.

Alongside this, the developments within the industry (especially in technology) have seen a whole new world of occupations cement themselves within ag. We are entering an era where we need innovators, researchers and skilled people to think creatively and drive our next wave of sustainable food and fibre production and land management. Our industry welcomes great people, with a good attitude and work ethic. And if you apply yourself, and are honest and hard-working, the reality is that you can climb the ladder quite quickly in many ag fields.

South Australia’s primary industries and agribusiness sector generated revenue of $17.3 billion in 2021/22, with 71,000 people directly employed in the sector and associated processing. In the same period, these industries accounted for 51% of the state’s merchandise exports (PIRSA, 2023). On a national level, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) has set a bold vision for agricultural production to exceed $100 billion in farm gate value by 2030. This means we need great people to help drive this growth!

There are many different aspects when it comes to the ag sector and there are positions to fill across the board. These are not just limited to farm work either! There are positions in the veterinary field, in agency and sales, marketing, shearing, media and communications, truck driving, meat processing/butchering, all types of admin and management, research and development and the ever-growing field of technology. Ag can take you from your farm boots in the paddock to a lab coat in a high-end facility to a suit in an overseas meeting room and everywhere in between.

There are jobs galore in the ag sector. And not just jobs, but pathways with awesome experiences. Currently, the job market for graduates of tertiary agricultural studies is five times larger than the supply of graduates (Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture, 2023), meaning there are around five jobs for every graduate! There are also amazing experiences for those keen to progress in trade, certificate or on-the-job experiences.

The Ag Institute and University of Adelaide’s Student Compendium is a great resource where you can find details on internships, post-graduate studies, competitions and many links to scholarships and job opportunities. There are hard copies of this available, or visit the Ag Institute Australia website, where you’ll find a great deal of information relevant to agricultural and natural resource management.

Many individual companies offer on-the-job training, as well as vocational training (eg TAFE courses) for those careers that don’t require a university degree. Take it from me, I grew up as a “townie”, with next to no experience in ag and through good pathways and on-the-job training, I’ve forged a career in a rewarding job that I love and has taken me all over the country.

My advice to any young person who may be interested in one of the many career opportunities ag offers is to take it up with your teacher or career advisor at school who can direct you to the many pathways available. Also, most rural businesses love hearing from keen young people, so don’t be afraid to tee up some work experience with your local stock agent, agronomist, shearing contractor or any of the professional people active in the community.

It is truly a fascinating and rewarding industry to be a part of!

– By Luke Schreiber, Spence Dix & Co Livestock Agent and Auctioneer

Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (2023) Viewed online at: ACDA
PIRSA (2023) About PIRSA. Viewed online: Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (