If you love the idea of working with young minds, helping them develop and explore their areas of interest in agriculture, and fostering their passion for the industry, than a career as an agricultural lecturer might just be for you.
Meet Siyabonga Ngcobo, lecturer in animal production at the Cedara College of Agriculture under the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
As a lecturer, Ngcobo’s mission is to produce competent individuals for the agricultural sector. Ngcobo explains that the path to becoming a lecturer begins with a degree in agriculture.
Ngcobo plays a crucial role in the agricultural sector and warns that no day is ever the same. “Being an agricultural lecturer means that you are committed to lifelong learning and researching the latest norms in the agricultural industry is just part of the job,” the 32-year-old explains.
But what does it take to feed the minds of young people eager to pursue careers in agriculture?
1Sum up your job:
Knowledge transfer. My job is to teach students about Animal production with specific reference to the management of a Beef and Small Stock Enterprise. To prepare students for the industry where they either become employees or employers.
2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail?
My day involves teaching, researching the latest norms in the agricultural industry and facilitating on-farm practical’s together with the technicians working at the college.
What qualification do you need for this career?
A degree in agriculture. I would say a postgraduate degree, preferably.
4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job?
The most important one I would say is to have excellent communication skills. Be an assertive individual as you work with many people. Research and development skills are also crucial traits, along with understanding the socio-economic status of different groups and individuals.
5Have you always worked in the agriculture sector?
Yes, I have worked in the industry most of the time. However, there was a period where I taught agricultural sciences in high school.
6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in?
The ever-changing needs of society that requires the industry to be always one step ahead, as well as to be flexible to constant environmental changes
7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments?
Helping an emerging black farmer turn around the profitability of his beef enterprise.
8What do you do when you’re not at work?
I am a dedicated runner; I enjoy running and being outdoors; I do a lot of hikes; gym; spending time with my young family.
9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story?
The most important thing is to love what you do, then it will never feel like a job.