13 December 2000

Twenty UQ Gatton students will graduate at 11am on Friday, December 15 with a 100 percent strike rate for jobs - and their first international work projects already under their belts.

They are the ninth graduating class of the Bachelor of Agribusiness course where final-year assessment rests on their performance in conducting market research projects for Australian agribusiness firms contemplating projects in Asia.

There are more jobs available than graduates to fill them, according to lecturer Cameron Kilminster, who mentored one of the four student teams recently returned from two weeks field work in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

"The course involves opportunities for interactions with industry from the students' very first year," Mr Kilminster said.

"They develop a tremendous range of knowledge and skills in the first two years of the course, and the Asian projects pull all this together. It's a marvellous opportunity for them to put all they've learned into practice, in a teamwork situation."

He said the teams completed client briefings and project planning before the trip. Afterwards, they finalised their reports and made presentations to client firms - whose executive staff helped assess the students' final marks.

Each firm contributed $9000 to cover costs for its project and keep student travel expenses down to about $800 each.

This year each team visited two Asian centres, Mr Kilminster said.

One worked in Hong Kong and Malaysia, continuing a five-year study for the Federal Government's Agriculture Fisheries Forestry Agency (AFFA) seeking opportunities for Australian horticultural producers as European supermarkets move into Asia.

Another team took on an e-commerce project involving visits to Singapore and Japan to look at supply chain management.

And two teams investigated markets in Singapore and Hong Kong - for Australian plums (client: Department of Agriculture, Western Australia) and for Australian stonefruit varieties new to those regions (client: Australian Association of Stonefruit Growers).

For more information, contact Cameron Kilminster, UQ Gatton (telephone 07 5460 1338) or Moya Pennell, UQ Communications (telephone 3365 2846).