INDUSTRY has been asked to provide feedback on Curtin University's Bachelor of Agribusiness degree after it underwent significant change.
Over the past five years, the degree course has been reduced from four to three years and increased its science-focused units to ensure students graduate with a well-rounded knowledge of the agriculture and agribusiness sectors.
Course co-ordinator Sarita Bennett facilitated a workshop that gathered 15 industry professionals from various breeding, agronomy, grower groups and agribusiness organisations to help Curtin shape the next transformation of the degree and ensure graduates are suited to industry needs.
"It was good to hear positive feedback on the direction we have taken over the past five years, but it was also good to hear suggestions for areas we can improve on - in particular, in producing specialised graduates," Dr Bennett said.
"For instance, producing a well-rounded agribusiness graduate may keep their options open at the end of the degree, but may not necessarily ensure they are the most employable if up against, say, a business graduate going for a banking job.
"As some of the industry members pointed out, what students prefer to study may not be so relevant - it's the needs of industry that may matter more, so if that means they need a specialised skill-set in a graduate, then we should look at options to specialise our students."
Dr Bennett said it was agreed that the main focus should be on continuing to teach students to think critically.
"We are training them to be better thinkers and learners. How we teach has changed dramatically over the past 10 years - it's not all done from a text book and lectures as it used to be," she said.
"We want to help them develop a passion for learning - a passion to improve their skills and accept that they won't know everything when they graduate, but will have the motivation to learn more with whatever path they choose."
She said the workshop was the first of many and she hopes the industry continues to show support for a better skilled workforce for the future of agriculture and agribusiness.
Dr Bennett said she welcomed further input from the agribusiness industry and encouraged anyone interested to contact her to share their feedback.