At BASF, we're committed to identifying, onboarding and developing industry talent as we firmly believe that our people are the key to success, especially when they’re provided with the right guidance, tools and opportunities to shine. One great example of this commitment is Airley Mulraney, one of BASF's Seeds and Traits (S&T) Associate Agronomist based in Mount Gambier. Although Airley officially joined BASF's Agricultural Solutions in November 2021, her association with BASF started when she was awarded the 2020 BASF Scholarship at Longerenong Agricultural College. Recently, we caught up with Airley to find out more about her journey from ag student to agronomist.
Whilst Airley initially considered careers in nursing and teaching, she always came back to the idea of pursuing a career in ag due to her personal interest in farming as a result of having grown up on a farm, which gave her a very 'real' exposure to the industry.
After completing high school, Airley decided to study an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management at Longerenong College. During her first year, Airley discovered the BASF 1st Year Scholarship, an award designed to support the building of the Australian ag industry's skills base. Airley decided to apply, and was successful in being awarded the AUD 5,000 scholarship. "I was absolutely ecstatic! The AUD$5,000 scholarship certainly helped a lot with my college tuition fees," Airley recalls.
Upon graduation, she applied to join BASF and was given the opportunity to start her professional career with a company she was already quite familiar with. She mentions, "I really appreciate that I was given the opportunity, and that I am now working with the company that helped get me through college. In fact, sometimes it feels like I am reliving my 12-week study training experience I had previously, but of course with more responsibilities now."
Airley is enjoying the opportunity to spend time in the field and learn different skills throughout the year. "At this time, we are really busy with crop monitoring before the harvest season starts as we have to ensure weeds and diseases are kept under control to give the crop the best chance of growing and producing a bountiful harvest. I am really looking forward to the harvest season to get a chance to analyse the results and see just how we can develop, refine and improve the processes used."
Stephen Monkley, Contra Season Manager and Airley's supervisor, says that Airley has been a very welcome addition to the team; "She has a very high level of attention to detail and is a quick learner, who's not afraid of asking questions if she's unsure or doesn't know something. She interacts easily with the rest of the team and is very organised in approaching her tasks. What's also great is that she has a pleasant and bubbly personality that makes it even easier for all of us to work with her.
Stephen shares that he'd like to see more young talents consider getting involved in agriculture, adding "As long as you are enthusiastic about the industry and willing to learn, the opportunities are almost endless. There are many areas available in the industry, and we provide training, learning, and working alongside agronomists and helping candidates to develop necessary and required skills and talents. Just be willing to try new things, and you will be surprised with what you can achieve."
Echoing Stephen’s points, Airley also offered words of encouragement to young people considering a career in ag, saying, "Don't be worried too much about what you don't know or what questions you're going to get asked, as everyone I’ve met so far in ag is unbelievably supportive and helpful. Next thing you know, you've achieved your dream job and loving what you do every day, which to me is the most important thing."
Airley concludes the discussion with, "I am incredibly grateful to the BASF colleagues in Longerenong and Mount Gambier enough for taking me on the 12 weeks placement and am also eternally grateful to BASF for the scholarship. It has been a jam-packed learning experience, but I love the entire process and I'm very excited to see what the future has in store for me!"