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Published: 17 May 2022

Olivia Woodiwiss

During National Careers Week, we are catching-up with agriculture graduates of the University of Tasmania to find out where their careers have taken them.

Olivia Woodiwiss graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Tasmania in 2021. And now works for Pinion Advisory as a Graduate Consultant in Agribusiness.

Olivia says a lot of the work she undertakes involves understanding how people think and then exposing them to new ideas to help improve their productivity and business out comes.

“It’s always interesting to help clients unravel what motivates them; what gets them out of bed in the morning and what their long-term goals are.  It’s often something people haven’t thought deeply about.

“Once we know this, we make a plan to get there. It’s rewarding to support people through these stages of development.  No two weeks are the same either, so that keeps my role exciting. You never know where you might need to travel to or what type of project might pop up next!

“The employment landscape of agriculture is continuing to change significantly. Producers are seeking more professional services than ever to keep up with consumer expectations, financial pressures, as well as technological and scientific advancements to ensure they can sustainably and profitably manage their business.

“Likewise, during the pandemic, agriculture never stopped. Crops kept growing and people still needed to eat so in those terms agriculture also offers a great deal of employment and financial security too.”

Name: Olivia Woodiwiss

What is your job title: Agribusiness Consultant

What is the most interesting/exciting part of your job? As a consultant a lot of our work involves understanding how people think and then exposing them to new ideas. Often we are engaged by producers who want to improve their productivity and business -- to do that, the best way is to challenge their current thinking. It’s always interesting to help client’s unravel what motivates them -- what gets them out of bed in the morning and what their long-term goals are. It’s often something people haven’t thought deeply about.. And once we know this, we make a plan of how to get there! It’s rewarding to support people through these stages of development.

No two weeks are the same either, so that keeps my role exciting. You never know where you might need to travel to or what type of project might pop up next!

You studied a Bachelor of Agriculture with Honours at the University of Tasmania. How has this provided a foundation for your career? The foundations were established by developing my capabilities and capacity to learn. No one expects that you will walk out of university and know everything - however, what my degree has done is ensure I have a sturdy base knowledge to grow from. Through that journey I have had the opportunity to establish relationships and networks that have been vital in building my career. A lecturer had recommended me to the company I currently work for. Personally, I think it is always important to ask your lecturer questions. Clarify your understanding, talk with them about opportunities to figure out where you would like to end up and seek out how to get there. Agriculture is a very well connected community!

What advice do you have for students considering a career in agriculture? It’s a great path to walk down if you are feeling unsure about which option to take. If you compare agriculture to many other degrees, for example, when you study teaching, you become a teacher; after studying nursing, you become a nurse… For agriculture there is no clearly defined role at the end. There are opportunities on farms, from being a harvest manager, a farm overseer, or an agronomist, through to white collar roles, such as a consultant, business analyst, researcher or project manager. One person from uni is working as a geotechnician now -- assessing the capability of soil for construction of buildings! So, having a degree in agriculture can set you up to take on a wide variety of roles, with the continual opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills. The employment landscape of agriculture is continuing to change significantly. Producers are seeking more professional services than ever to keep up with consumer expectations, financial pressures, as well as technological and scientific advancements to ensure they can sustainably and profitably manage their business. Likewise, during the pandemic, agriculture never stopped. Crops kept growing and people still needed to eat so in those terms agriculture also offers a great deal of employment and financial security too.