After completing Year 12, the fourth-generation sheep and cattle farmer took a gap year harvesting pearls off the waters between Darwin and Broome in the Northern Territory.
Fast forward four years and Jack has secured early acceptance to the ANZ Agribusiness Graduate Program. This guarantees him employment for 18 months before he has even finished his Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of Sydney.
Jack’s association with ANZ stems from his experience with the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship.
In partnership with sponsors, each year AgriFutures Australia mentors and financially assists university students studying agriculture-related degrees for the term of their tertiary studies.
Through the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship and Jack’s sponsor ANZ, he engaged in work placement with the bank where he learnt alongside lenders, who provided millions of dollars to cotton gins, abattoirs and large farming operations.
This led to an eight-week internship, offered to only six students nationwide. Assigned to the Dubbo NSW branch, Jack not only learnt about finance but the importance of creating a positive relationship with clients.
“When you are dealing with such large sums of money, the client has to trust that the bank manager has his or her best interests at heart,” said Jack.
“Having agricultural knowledge is crucial to being able to understand the farmers’ budgets, business management and plans.
“Farmers appreciate being able to talk with people who have been where they are and can share the relationship. They don’t just want a city person in a suit on email.”
Growing up on a 2000-acre property outside the small central west NSW town of Binnaway, Jack is familiar with farming life, which is a key to him resonating with his future clients.
He has also worked on a sheep station in Robe, South Australia, during shearing season.
And via his studies of a subject titled Agro Eco Systems in Developing Countries, Jack travelled to Laos, in South East Asia, to view farming practices focusing on rice paddies, water buffalo and fishing.
Jack will complete his degree in November, but his graduate program does not start until February 2018.
So will he head back out to sea to harvest pearls?
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made, but I think I’ll go travelling and visit friends this time,” he said.
2018 AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship online applications open Monday, 8 January 2018. Students must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident enrolled full-time in their first year of an agriculture-related degree at an Australian university with a maximum two-year gap between high school and tertiary study. In addition, in 2018 there are three unique scholarships on offer, targeting students in their final two years of study within a financial services discipline with a keen interest in agriculture.
To learn more about the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship, visit agrifutures.com.au/horizon