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Banking on rural women

Pic: ANZ graduate Felicity Jones Source: Matthew Turner via The Weekly Times

In a Melbourne boardroom, all polished wood and marble, six university graduates chat nervously.


Fresh out of degrees in agriculture, commerce and animal science, they are taking part in this year’s ANZ agribusiness graduate program.


“It was an interesting role. It felt very comfortable.” – Felicity Jones


Most of them, including 23-year-old Felicity Jones, have grown up on farms and are more comfortable in muddy paddocks than in ANZ’s head office.


“Having a background of sitting round the kitchen table, talking to Mum and Dad about business decisions day to day is very normal,” says Felicity, who is from an Angus cattle property at Kimberley, in north central Tasmania.


“I guess this is kind of flipping the role of where I have been previously.”


During the 18-month program, Felicity will learn to fill the role of “agribusiness assistant relationship manager” — ANZ’s modern term for a bank manager’s assistant.


Felicity will work directly with farm business owners to understand the challenges and opportunities that drive Australia’s agriculture industries, from the Northern Territory’s cattle stations to Tasmania’s aquaculture sector, and everything in between.


She is joined by Mitchell Carmody from Rutherglen, Matthew Johns from Ballarat, George Woods from Boggabilla in NSW, Oliver Venables from Cookernup in WA and Brigette Bain-Jones from Bangalow NSW.


Felicity studied commerce at University of Adelaide and aspires to help family-run farm businesses maximise their potential.


“When you go talk to clients, you have to understand family because a lot of the businesses we talk to are family-based,” says Felicity, who applied for the program after completing an eight-week summer ANZ internship before her final year of study at Adelaide Uni.


“In the internship, I would go out with the relationship manager, just like at home, sitting round the kitchen table, talking about business, where the direction is going, what needs to be done and who’s going to do it.


“It was an interesting role. It felt very comfortable.”


As with all six of the graduates, Felicity did not study with a view to becoming a banker. To continue learning more about Felicity’s journey click here.


Camille Smith is Magazines and Commercial Editor for The Weekly Times.


This article was originally published by The Weekly Times and has been republished with permission. Click HERE to read the full article.

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