Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) Northern Branch recently hosted its annual student industry day. And what an inspirational day it was.
Why is a student industry day important?
The student industry day was an opportunity for animal science students, especially those in their third and final year, to learn more about the animal science industry and get ready for their future careers. The event featured presentations from industry experts who gave useful tips and insights to the students. After each presentation, the students could also network with the speakers and visit their exhibition stands.
The day started with a welcoming address from JW van Niekerk, the chairperson of the SASAS Northern Branch. Then, Karla Zietsman, the vice-chairperson, showed the students how the different branches of animal science in the industry are connected.
The following industry members addressed students during the event:
- Wimpie Lambrecht, national sales manager of Vitam: Lambrecht’s presentation was a mix of humor and wisdom that made the students think about their choices and futures. He emphasised the importance of having passion and drive, and of celebrating the wins of your company as well as your own. He also advised the students to build a strong support system for themselves, and to choose a company that supports them as well.
- Lee-Ann Lemmen, poultry feed formulator at Trouw Nutrition: Lemmen spoke about the crucial topic of opportunities. She said that in a country with scarce employment, one should never turn down any opportunity. She added that gaining practical experience is very valuable, as employers look for it when hiring new employees.
- Prof Linky Makgahlela, a well-known scientist at the Agricultural Research Council, in her capacity as a member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) professional advisory committee: Prof Makgahlela highlighted the benefits of being a registered scientist. The main reason is safety. Registering ensures protection for yourself as a scientist, your professionalism, scientific interests and protection for the public. She also said that being registered with SACNASP helps you to keep learning and developing as a scientist. For more information regarding SACNASP, visit their website and register at https://www.sacnasp.org.za/.
- Pieter du Toit, national sales manager of De Heus South Africa: Du Toit values honesty as the best policy. He advised the students to be honest about their passion and skills when looking for a job. He urged them not to say what they think others want to hear, but to be authentic and confident. Du Toit also emphasised the importance of preparing and behaving professionally for interviews.
- Gay Boomgaard, division technical manager of poultry at Meadow Feeds: Boomgaard elaborated on the various employment opportunities in the feed industry and explained how all the different occupations come together to make the feed industry work. She also explained why each occupation is important.
- Alex Jenkins, ruminant principal at Allied Nutrition: Jenkins taught the students how to make a memorable CV. He said that a CV is not a guarantee for a job, but a way to showcase who you are. He shared some helpful tips, such as: keep it to one page, be brief, clear, and relevant, do your research, and make it appealing. He also mentioned the top left rule, which means putting the most important information on the top left corner of your CV.
- Willem Kleyn, trade marketing manager and head of training and Megan Marshall at Elanco Animal Health: Kleyn and Marshall shared their insights on a career in animal health and told the students that setbacks can be opportunities in disguise. They inspired the students to persevere, learn from failures and mistakes, and try again with more determination.
- Candice Jooste, genetic analyst at Inqaba Biotechnical Industries’ Zoomics: Jooste discussed career opportunities in the field of genetics, highlighted the importance of geneticists in the field of agriculture and specifically spoke about DNA profiling, disease control and conservation.
- Johnny Burger, a former rugby player and owner of the South African Hall of Fame: He urged the students to be authentic and self-aware. He said that in a society where many people imitate others and lack self-knowledge, being true to yourself and knowing your strengths and weaknesses will make you stand out. He ended with a thought-provoking remark: You cannot serve the world if you do not know who you are.
Sponsors and exhibitors
No event is possible without the support of sponsors and exhibitors. The following agricultural companies were involved as sponsors and exhibitors:
De Heus, Elanco, Trouw Nutrition, Meadow Feeds, Vitam International and Zoomics (a division of Inqaba Biotechnical Industries).
The following companies were exhibitors at the event:
AFGRI Animal Feeds, Animal Feed Manufacturing Association (AFMA), Agrijob, Chemunique, Epol, Evonik, Kemin, Livestock Registration Federation (LRF), SA Stud Book, SACNASP and Topigs Norsvin.
Plaas Media was the proud media partner for this event. The Plaas TV team was also there, so give this short highlight video a glimpse: https://youtu.be/i4esx0cN-xg.
Are you a member of SASAS?
Trevor Dugmore, the president of SASAS, said that one of the purposes of this organisation is to help its members work together to contribute to a strong and productive scientific knowledge economy. He said that anyone who has the qualifications and the intention to advance the scientific knowledge of animal science can join SASAS.
Karla Zietsman gave a motivational presentation in which she said that the world does not owe you anything, but you owe your passion, energy, and time to the world and the animal science industry. She encouraged the students and the professionals who are passionate about animal science in agriculture to join SASAS and make a difference in the industry. Visit their website at https://www.sasas.co.za/. – Deidré Louw, Plaas Media