Olivia Woodiwiss has always loved agricultural life and has fond memories growing up on her family’s hobby farm in Pipers River, Northern Tasmania.

Now, she is one of the first cohort of 35 students to graduate with an associate degree from University College.

Olivia received her Associate Degree in Agribusiness Launceston mid-year graduation ceremonies.

Although she loved agriculture from an early age, Olivia’s pathway to study in that field has been broad and varied – including stints working in administration, farming, animal health and hospitality, not to mention travelling the world.

Olivia returned to study as a mature-age student after talking to University College lecturer Stephen Ives at Agfest about a new agribusiness course set to be offered in Launceston for the first time.

I wanted a career that I enjoyed, where going to work every day wasn’t a chore – no two days are the same.

“Opportunities are popping up all the time in this space, and new roles are being created,” Olivia said.

“It’s a really exciting industry to be part of.”

Olivia even got to keep travelling during her first year of study, when she received a travel scholarship through the Crawford Fund. She visited Vietnam and Laos for two weeks and experienced the initial set-up of an international agricultural aid project. The program aims to help alleviate food scarcity and increase market access by investigating ways to improve beef cattle efficiency for smallholder farmers in Dien Bien.

On a personal level, returning to study has really created a passion that I think I was missing.

“I am proud of the achievements I have accomplished within my studies and have absolutely surprised myself with how motivated and interested I am – which is why I think returning to studying ‘mature age’ really allows you to identify what your real interests are.”

Olivia has built a great professional network through her studies too, and she is now set to graduate with Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture and Business) in November 2019.

“My qualification will allow me to further my career options in the agricultural field and has exposed me to such a scope of knowledge which I will be able to use in real-world settings.

I would like to be able to contribute to tackling the issues faced in agricultural productivity, sustainability and social license of the industry.

Find out more about studying at University College here