Final year students completing agri-food-related courses in Munster Technological University (MTU) Kerry and University College Dublin (UCD) took the opportunity to meet potential employers at recent careers days.

Students met companies in the sector face to face providing them with a platform to discuss current opportunities for employment within the sector. Along with professional networking with industry members, students also partook in mock interviews.

This exercise simulates a real interview; giving participants a realistic idea of what the interview process usually entails.

These simulations allow students to gain experience and provide them with valuable feedback on areas where they can improve.

Anne-Marie Butler, head of education at Teagasc, spoke with Irish Country Living about the benefits of mock interviews.

“These events are really powerful. Over the years I have sat on a good few interview - and mock interview – boards; there is a huge advantage for someone who has done it before.”

Advising soon-to-graduate students to follow their gut feeling, Anne-Marie adds, “I would often say to students, consider everything. When you are young, embrace all of the opportunities.”

MTU Kerry

During MTU Kerry’s careers day, 35 final-year students were given an opportunity to network with a number of industry members; providing students with an insight into the professional world. Dr MaryAnne Hurley, a PhD Lecturer and programme coordinator at MTU Kerry, said, “We had a brilliant day, it was a very positive experience. The idea was to create a positive professional environment for soon-to-be graduate students, to give them a kick start into their career.”

MTU Kerry Agriculture Careers Day \ Dominick Walsh

Industry perspective

Gerard Farrell, agri recruiter and lead consultant at Farm Relief Services (FRS) attended the UCD careers fair and spoke about the benefits of meeting students in person. He says, “We have found the Agri Careers day to be hugely beneficial for our organisation. Not only do we get to meet with future candidates and discuss the diverse range of opportunities in the agri sector, but we also get to network and meet with industry leaders.”

Gerard emphasised that although there is some uncertainty in the current job market, the agri sector is thriving and there continues to be a steady flow of new opportunities for graduates. He adds, “The area to watch out for in 2023 might include AgTech and Sustainability.”

Niamh Rid

Lixnaw, Co Kerry (Agricultural Science)

How did you find the careers day?

Careers day was a great success, it was a great event for students here at MTU Kerry. It’s a fantastic window of opportunity for us final year students studying ?for our Bachelor of Science (honours) in agricultural science. Today was a fantastic occasion to meet people in the field who are representing so many great companies and carry out mock interviews. The representatives have years of experience in their field and their feedback allowed people to grow and learn.

Advice for students looking at studying a degree

Go for it, there is a world of opportunity and you won’t regret it. Taking a year to make that final decision after school was the best choice I ever made. It can be quite difficult coming from Leaving Certificate straight to college as there is a huge transition.

Rachel McGrath

Nenagh, Co Tipperary (Agricultural Science)

How did you find the careers day?

The careers day was extremely successful. It was a great experience to meet many new agricultural industry employees. I am very grateful for this opportunity. The interviews carried out were very beneficial and I will take the feedback on board for the future.

Most beneficial part of your degree?

Over the last four years in MTU Kerry, I have really grown as a person and learned so much. I have matured hugely since my first year in Tralee. I graduated last year with my level 7 degree in Agricultural Science ?and stayed on to get my level 8. I was very hesitant to go to college after my leaving certificate, but it was the best decision I have ever made. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and really hope the future will be a success.

Read more

Careers in Crops - part 2

Open days for prospective students at Teagasc agricultural colleges