A CAREER within the agriculture industry was not always the obvious choice for Queensland’s Kayla Evans, but the 24-year-old has learnt just how vast the opportunities are within the sector following her new appointment at Careers in Grain.
Ms Evans is hoping to help others across WA take up opportunities within the grains sector, as part of her new role as Careers in Grain marketing and communications officer.
The 24-year-old takes over from Manjusha Thorpe and Grant Taylor, and will transition the Careers in Grain project to it’s implementation phase this year.
The Grains Industry Association of WA (GIWA) Careers in Grain project is funded by growers, industry, the State government and the tertiary education sector to attract, upskill and employ people in WA’s grains industry.
Having grown up on a mixed grain and cattle farm on the Darling Downs, Ms Evans has a long history with the grains sector and the broader agricultural landscape.
After completing high school in Queensland, Ms Evans moved west to complete a public relations and human resource management degree at Murdoch University.
She has since worked in various roles at Murdoch University, including student recruitment, business development and communications and events.
Ms Evans said her new position at Careers in Grain allowed her to utilise her experience in education in combination with her background in agriculture.
“I guess my passion recently has become the careers space and career education and then when this job came up and it was in agriculture, having grown up in the industry it seemed like a really good fit for me,” Ms Evans said.
After three weeks in her new role, Ms Evans said she was greatly optimistic about the varying opportunities available within the WA grains sector.
She said she hoped to convey that message to students studying a range of degrees.
“It’s overwhelmingly positive, everyone is looking to the future and at how we can keep moving WA grains ahead of our competitors,” Ms Evans said.
“There’s a vast range of opportunities for students studying mechatronics, students studying chemical engineering, in the data science area, marketing and communications, and food science is a huge advancing area as well.”
Ms Evans met with members of the Careers in Grain Council last week, where plans for 2018 were discussed.
She said a focus for the team would be on familiarisation projects for students with little exposure to the grains sector, along with its Early Career Placement Program.
“We’re mostly targeting people who would have never otherwise considered themselves likely to enter the grains industry, so people with little to no understanding of what a career in grain looks like,” Ms Evans said.
“We see in agriculture quite traditionally activities more geared to students who are already studying agribusiness or ag science, but for students who have no idea, they’re not necessarily going to sign up to an activity that has agriculture branding all over it.
“We’re working to combat that stereotype that the grain industry might not be so technologically advanced, or not very innovative, or that you can’t earn a lot of money working in the grain industry, or that because I studied x at university, it automatically disqualifies me from that kind of industry.
“I’ll be looking to get out and meet as many young people as I can, having some conversations about what a career in grain looks like and be doing lots of networking with high schools and the universities as well.”