Enrolment numbers into Curtin University’s Bachelor of Agribusiness have increased by more than 50 per cent in 2013, demonstrating a returning interest in the industry.
The headcount of students for this year after the mid-year intake was 52, higher than 2012’s 33 and 2011’s 35 and on track for reaching future projections.
Dr Sue Low, Lecturer in Animal Production Systems from Curtin’s Department of Environment & Agriculture said the strong growth in numbers could be due to greater awareness of what the degree offered.
“I think students are now recognising the ‘business’ of sustainable food production – whether that be farm production, innovative R&D or agricultural extension, rather than the traditional view of agriculture as farming,” Dr Low said.
“But demand for students is still enormous – nationally we still require more than 2,000 graduates per year, yet we are only reaching 600 and, with courses declining in other universities across the country, these statistics are worrying.
“At Curtin, a high proportion of students are employed before they graduate as we can produce well-trained, job-ready graduates who can start work immediately.”
Dr Low said the course combined food production with new technologies and appropriate business practices to reflect the skills demanded by industry.
She said students were involved in agriculture science units from the beginning of first year and had core units across cropping and animal production.
They are given problem-solving and research-led teaching activities using the field trial site and glasshouse facilities, also allowing them to design and undertake their own experiments.
The degree is finished off with field trips and compulsory work experience, drawing together learning experiences across units and developing a job-ready graduate.
Dr Sue Low, Department of Environment & Agriculture, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4195; firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241; Mobile: 0401 103 755; Email: email@example.com