There was an air of enthusiasm and anticipation on the first day of the orientation program for students for the new bachelor of agricultural business management at Muresk Institute.

The 24 students enrolled for the degree offered in a partnership between C Y O'Connor Institute and Charles Sturt University, were present on February 26 for the return of agribusiness to Muresk.

Director of the Higher Education Project, Dr Christine Storer, said it was exciting to be part of the establishment of the new degree. "Employers are keen for well qualified graduates with workplace experience. "A number are offering scholarships to encourage students in the course. "We have a great course thanks to the foresight of the C Y O'Connor Institute board and tenacity of its Managing Director, John Scott," she said.

John Scott said, "The core business of the Institute is vocational training, however, this activity will run as a distinct business unit with its own unique identity, higher education. "Our aim is to work with industry to maintain our proud history of  providing an excellent experience for our students. "It fits well with a Universities Australia report highlighting  the need to better prepare graduates for the world of work," he said.

"Congratulations for selecting a career pathway into agribusiness. "Agriculture has a great future and it will be your generation that provides leaders to address food security issues associated with a world population of nine billion predicted for  2050," Mr Scott said.

President of the Northam Shire, Steven Pollard, praised the C Y O'Connor Institute for its initiative in establishing the partnership with CSU to return an agriculture degree to Muresk. "He welcomed the students to Northam and urged them to get involved in the life of the district. "We can achieve great things together," he said.

Inaugural Director of Muresk Institute under Curtin University and chair of the C Y O'Connor agricultural advisory committee, Dr Ian Fairnie, commended the return of agribusiness to Muresk. "Throughout its 88 years, Muresk has produced graduates who have filled positions of great responsibility in WA, Australia and overseas. "Some have established successful careers in agriculture and a wide range of other industries and professions. "One even became a university vice chancellor. "Muresk is a great place to get started," he said.

Over the three days of the orientation program students took part in a number of activities to familiarise them with university life and prepare them for the successful completion of the degree. These included adapting to university life, referencing of written assignments, information technology, dealing with the media and establishment of baseline information concerning literacy and numeracy.  

ABOVE: Managing director of C Y O'Connor Institute, John Scott, addresses the first intake of students and their parents at the start of orientation at the Muresk campus.

TOP: Students taking part in an activity during orientation at Muresk (L-R) Kateland Jury, Amy Corsini (Westonia), Matthew Reynolds (York), David Storer (Northam), Gary Tooke and group leader, Higher Education Project marketing manager, Daisy Bulloch (back to camera).