Limitless opportunities at AgSoc careers fair

AgSoc careers committee chair Owen Cashman recounts this year’s markedly successful careers fair.

On Wednesday February 12, fifty companies from across the agri-food sector descended on UCD for the annual Agricultural Science Society (AgSoc) careers fair. An event that has been growing from strength to strength year on year. I had the pleasure of leading the organisation of the event as the careers committee chairperson for the academic year. In what has been a great year for careers events in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, it was encouraging to see continued interest in the graduates provided by UCD within the sector. Studying agricultural or food science opens many opportunities for us as soon to be graduates. For students it is hard to figure out what the next step in our careers is, opportunities exist both nationally and internationally. The careers fair highlights the cohesion of the school and how universal our degree is. 

Following on from our incredibly successful Ag Week, the event has kept the momentum with Ag Soc events in full flow. Every year, the day consists of an opening address to the students. This year AgSoc were delighted to welcome CEO of Devenish Nutrition and EI Entrepreneur of the Year 2019, Richard Kennedy. A powerful addition to this year’s event, Kennedy had some wonderful sentiments for all students entering into the agri-food sector. One such sentiment came whilst Kennedy was describing the unconstrained opportunities for the soon to be graduates, claiming “your only limitation is your own imagination.” Seamus O’Mahoney ASA president also shared his experience of his time in UCD and presented ten awards to winners of the ASA mock interview series which began the weeks careers events on Tuesday. 

With the agri-food sector making up 7.7% of employment in Ireland and being the largest indigenous sector on the island, its importance cannot be understated for the economy. We at AgSoc believe events such as the careers fair are very important to establish links and build cohesion as an industry going forward. The range of opportunities demonstrated by the variety companies in attendance is vital in helping final year students make the next step in their career. As members of the Ag Science Society in UCD we are very proud to say that this event is student run. With the help and guidance of the school marketing team, Damien Dempsey and Valerie Abbott, it continues to be a special day in the calendar of the society. 

We have seven-degree programs under the school and showcasing the wide variety of talents coming out of these programmes is what the careers day is all about. The day is a hallmark for the students in the school and acts as a precursor for our graduation in September. It gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the last four years and is an occasion that creates a great atmosphere among the students of the school. 

The day itself involved months of preparation from the Ag Soc careers committee and UCD school marketing team. It capped off a busy year of careers events which began with graduate programme talks from various companies offering opportunities for the coming year. The support we receive from these companies and the interest they show in us as BAgrSc students is very encouraging. I wish to acknowledge the companies who attended and their generosity as each company has donated generously to the Agricultural Science Societies chosen charities Teac Tom and CMRF Crumlin. 

As Careers chair and on behalf of the committee I want to thank all the people who have contributed to the success of careers day 2020. Firstly, to FRS Recruitment for their continued sponsorship of the careers fair. Secondly, to our speakers; to our keynote speaker Richard Kennedy, a passionate advocate of the Agricultural Science degree and an example of inspiring work and innovation, to Seamus O’Mahony, ASA president who has been a constant supporter of career development in his role throughout the year. To the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Science, Professor Alex Evans who gives up time every year to attend careers day. Finally, to Jason Masterson and the staff of the Astra Hall and Student Centre, they were efficient and incredibly helpful in getting the facilities in both the Fitzgerald Chamber and the hall ready. 

Best of luck to all students in the class of 2020 in their future careers, there is no shortage of challenges for food production, but an equally impressive calibre of students prepared to meet them head on.