Channel my career
When it comes to deciding on your future career, students can have a lot of questions. What will my day to day job entail? What will the key responsibilities be? Do I have the right skills and aptitudes for the role?
Getting advice from people who have been there and done that can be paramount in helping students make those key decisions. Every year, the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) finds those who have embraced their job in the ag industry and progressed their career, showcasing to final-year students and graduates the road that could lie ahead.
The ASA UCD Careers Forum took place on Monday 21 November and a stellar lineup led to a very engaging evening. Although agriculture was once considered a predominantly male industry, women such as Mary Delaney are really proving this is a thing of the past.
Mary was appointed ASA president earlier this year. Only the third woman to be in that role in the organisation’s 75-year history, she came to the position with a wealth of knowledge, having worked in Glanbia for 11 years.
Now she is head of the equine division in the organisation, and she spoke about having responsibility for the GAIN Horse Feeds portfolio.
Another lady to inspire was Mary McEvoy, who is technical development manager with Germinal, a supplier of grass and forage seeds in Ireland. Mary’s talk gave students an insight into PhD life as she herself studied at Teagasc Moorepark.
This led to her taking up a position as researcher with the grassland science team, where she worked for six years. In 2014, however, she moved from academia and joined Germinal, where she is now responsible for customer training and education, organising farm demonstrations, monitoring variety performance and product marketing.
Also giving his perspective on completing a PhD was Donagh Berry, who holds the position of statistical geneticist with Teagasc.
Hailing from a beef and sheep farm on the foothills of the Knockmealdowns, Donagh completed his ag science degree at UCD in 2000.
However, when it came to completing his PhD, he opted to go further afield, studying in dairy cattle genetics in collaboration with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His current role means he is responsible for research on genetics in dairy cattle in Ireland.
While research may be the path of choice for some, others are determined to farm and John Fagan, who graduated from UCD in 2001 specialising in agribusiness and rural development, gave his perspective.
Since taking over the family farm at Gartlandstown, Crookedwood, Co Westmeath, he now farms over 1,000 ewes. Recently he entered into a contract-rearing partnership with an expanding dairy farmer where he is managing 400 heifers, and explained what was involved in this undertaking.
Padraig Brennan, director of markets with Bord Bia, gave a fresh perspective, discussing his role with the Irish food board. This is a man who has worked his way up the ladder, and prior to his current role, Padraig was part of the team that led the development and implementation of Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme.
Also in a corporate role, but with a financial perspective, was Ciaran Roche, who has been with FBD Insurance for 17 years. As risk manager, he has been responsible for managing and developing the company’s risk management policies and strategies. Farm safety has been key to this and he has implemented strategies and safety campaigns designed to reduce the number of accidents and claims.
Ciaran’s talk completed an evening that was extremely varied in nature and outlined the multitude of paths that people can take in the industry.