Deakin University launches major in food and agribusiness at Warrnambool campus

Food for thought: Wannon MP Dan Tehan and Warrnambool campus manager Alistair McCosh celebrate a new major in food and agribusiness was launched at Deakin University's Warrnambool campus on Thursday. The major will be part of the Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Food for thought: Wannon MP Dan Tehan and Warrnambool campus manager Alistair McCosh celebrate a new major in food and agribusiness was launched at Deakin University's Warrnambool campus on Thursday. The major will be part of the Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Two of the region’s largest food and agribusiness employers have thrown their support behind a new Deakin University course offering which was launched on Thursday.

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and the Midfield Group have provided scholarships for students studying the new Bachelor of Commerce food and agribusiness major. 

Wannon MP Dan Tehan launched the major which has been introduced to meet the growing demands of the Great South Coast's strong agribusiness sector.

Students can enrol in the course in 2018 and start their specialisation in food and agribusiness in 2019.

Mr Tehan said the major would help meet regional and national demand for skilled employees, while drawing on the region’s food and fibre strengths.

“It’s incredible when you think the fastest growing part of our economy at the moment is agriculture,” Mr Tehan said. “When you look at agriculture, how much we’ve got of it and how we can benefit locally, but also across Australia, there’s huge opportunity.

He said the major would entice both local students and those from across Australia to study at the Warrnambool campus. “Everyone now understands the potential of agriculture. It’s a great initiative.”

Deakin University campus director Alistair McCosh said it was great news for the region and agriculture was a global industry. 

"To offer an agri program in one of the major agriculture sectors in regional Australia makes sense,” Mr McCosh said.

“We’re unique in that we’ve got strong industry connections right here with Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and the Midfield Group as well as the broader services sector that service it. 

“Sinclair Wilson are one of the largest accounting firms in regional Australia who want to employ our graduates. They will employ graduates that now have an agribusiness background.” 

Mr McCosh said support from Mr Tehan, industry and business were “significant” in convincing Deakin to introduce the major. 

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) human resources general manager Kirsty Appleton said it was an exciting day for the agribusiness sector.

She said the WCB and university partnership would see students benefit from applied learning opportunities, graduate programs and graduate career paths in the industry. 

“Together we can provide some great career paths for young people,” Ms Appleton said. 

Ms Appleton announced the dairy giant’s contribution at the launch with WCB to provide four scholarships, including two which were specifically for students studying the food and agribusiness major, she said. 

The Midfield Group have also committed to two scholarships per year for the next three years, and individual Felicity Melican who has contributed one scholarship per year for the next three years.

A number of philanthropic trusts have also contributed to scholarships across a range of courses to be announced later in the year. 

Warrnambool mayor Kylie Gaston said it was wonderful to see such great community support at the launch.

“This is a community that steps up,” Cr Gaston said. “The scholarships are a great opportunity for students across the region and beyond to come and benefit from this magnificent campus and make their studies affordable.” 

EARLIER

Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus has launched its first course offering specifically focused on meeting the growing demands of the Great South Coast's strong agribusiness sector.

Wannon MP Dan Tehan officially launched the major in food and agribusiness on Thursday at the Warrnambool campus.

The new major will be part of Deakin’s Bachelor of Commerce. Students can enrol in the course in 2018 and start their specialisation in food and agribusiness in 2019.

A number of industry and business representatives who have supported the course development attended the launch where a series of student scholarships were announced.