Producing the leaders of tomorrow

Producing the leaders of tomorrow

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For nearly 60 years, Marcus Oldham College has been developing the next generation of agricultural leaders in farming, agribusiness and equine management.

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CONFIDENT: Anna Cotton, Kelvedon Estate, believes her time at Marcus Oldham College helps her jointly run the family enterprise.

CONFIDENT: Anna Cotton, Kelvedon Estate, believes her time at Marcus Oldham College helps her jointly run the family enterprise.

For nearly 60 years, Marcus Oldham College has been developing the next generation of agricultural leaders in farming, agribusiness and equine management.

From its campus in Geelong, Victoria, Marcus Oldham offers students a hands-on educational experience as Australia's only independent agricultural and equine business management college.

It is recognised both nationally and internationally for its ability to develop students who go on to pursue a successful agricultural career.

In a student experience survey, 84.1 per cent of Marcus Oldham students said they had a positive overall experience compared with the national average of 73.5pc.

The survey showed 90.2pc of students were positive about their skills' development compared with the national average of 79.7pc, while 96pc of students found full time employment after graduation, compared with the national average of 71.3pc.

Having been a student, lecturer and now principal, Dr Simon Livingstone knows first-hand about the Marcus Oldham experience.

"The difference with Marcus Oldham is its ability to develop the individual," he said.

"Similar to the Harvard experience, the Marcus model of education is based on case study learning.

"With high student contact hours, small class sizes, excellent lecturers who skillfully deliver the theory with practical application, the education received by students at Marcus Oldham is second to none.

"Students of Marcus Oldham are all encouraged to have a number of years working in industry before attending the college.

"This exposure to industry makes for a more mature student committed to achieving better learning outcomes.

"During their study at the college, students are exposed to experiential learning, case studies, practical examples and several tours both domestic and international.

"Students come from across Australia ensuring a truly enriching social and learning experience.

"Being independent allows our courses to be developed in close consultation with the relevant industries and to incorporate new trends and technology into the teaching programs.

"Our emphasis at Marcus Oldham College is on business management which provides skills that are readily transferable across a wide range of careers.

"This results in highly employable graduates who are at the leading edge of their chosen fields.

"I genuinely believe Marcus Oldham to be a very special place."

Marcus Oldham College graduate Anna Cotton is a sixth-generation farmer.

She graduated from the college in 2015 with a Bachelor of Business (Agriculture), and with her father Jack, now runs the family's property Kelvedon Estate on the east coast of Tasmania.

On the 5000-hectare property, Anna and Jack utilise 3000ha to operate a 7500-head superfine Merino wool enterprise while also running a vineyard with 9ha of vines.

Last year the winery harvested about 70 tonne of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes, producing table wines which are distributed throughout Tasmanian and Victorian restaurants and bottle shops.

Ms Cotton looks after all the marketing for both the farm and the winery, using social media to promote their business.

With the meat market so strong, Kelvedon Estate has now joined a portion of its Merino ewes to Southdown rams as an additional prime lamb revenue stream.

Kelvedon Estate has also just registered its Merino stud.

Ms Cotton believes her time at Marcus Oldham College has been integral to her success in the joint management of the family enterprise.

"Completing my Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) exposed me to many different facets of agriculture and connections," she said.

"It taught me how to learn from other people and gave me the confidence to go out into the workforce, ask for help and learn the skills I need from people who know.

"Being a smaller college, it is more intimate.

"When I went through, there were 25 students doing the course.

"We were a very close-knit community and the lecturers' open-door policy meant they were always willing to help out when needed.

"We all knew each other by nicknames, both the students and lecturers.

"It is that personal learning experience which really sets Marcus Oldham College apart from the rest."

While they are happy with their business, Anna is keen to see it expand and develop.

"I would like to grow both the Merino side of things as well as the winery," she said.

"We have been producing rams for years, but by registering the stud we are taking that next step.

"I really want to develop the technical side of the stud which will give customers all the information they need to make informed decisions.

"I hope to get more into data recording and genetic testing with the stud.

"There are so many traits which can be measured to show both ram and ewe suitability.

"I want to look more closely at which ewes produce stronger lambs with a better survival rate and which rams produce progeny with more fleece.

"Through data collection we can become more efficient in our enterprise while also providing better stock to our clients."

  • Visit marcusoldham.vic.edu.au

The story Producing the leaders of tomorrow first appeared on The Land.

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