In a bid to shore up its talent pool at a time when employers are scouring regional Australia for qualified staff, Rabobank has launched its first formal graduate program in Australia.
It is seeking university graduates "with a passion for and interest in agriculture", offering them a range of opportunities if they start their farm sector careers with the global agribusiness lender.
The bank has places for graduates from around Australia who will commence a formal 18-month graduate program in February.
Applications for its graduate employee program are open until August 16.
Selected graduates will have the chance to work from its head office in The Netherlands as part of a capstone project they undertake during their training.
As one of Australia's largest farm sector lenders, Rabobank is a major provider of business and corporate banking services to the food and agribusiness sector.
"With the great 'war for talent' in the market, we know growing our own talents organically is one of the strategic solutions to address this challenge," said Rabobank chief human resources officer, Belinda Webber.
"Locally, it is reported that 53 per cent of hiring employers are having trouble recruiting staff.
"To remain competitive as an employer of choice and to create strong early engagement with the new generation entering the workforce, for us a graduate program is naturally one of the key solutions."
Ms Webber noted within two years more than 75 per cent of the global workforce was expected to be Gen Z and Millennials (born after 1980).
While the bank previously employed some graduates on an individual basis in its local operation, this was the first time it had initiated a "formal structured grad program" in Australia.
"This program offers an exciting opportunity for graduates to embark on meaningful career paths with a global agri leader and to work across - and gain skills, knowledge and experience with - a leading agricultural and financial institutions," she said.
The bank was seeking graduates for a range of business areas including country (rural) banking, wholesale (corporate) banking, risk and compliance, technology and business transformation.
Ms Webber said each would spend time on rotation working across a range of areas within the bank as part of the program.
The rotation placements will not only help to build graduates' skills and knowledge, but also bring value to the teams where they work by injecting fresh ideas- Belinda Webber, Rabobank
"The 'grad' program will offer bespoke 'rotations' tailored to each graduate's background, skills and development focus, which will allow them to spend time across the bank's operations, working with a wide range of teams, where they will gain unique learning and experiences from each of the areas," she said.
"The rotation placements will not only help to build graduates' skills and knowledge, but also bring value to the teams where they work by injecting fresh ideas and different approaches to how things may be done."
Rabobank planned to have annual intakes, offering university graduates "meaningful career development opportunities" with support to grow in their chosen areas of interest, as well as "the chance to be part of Rabobank's inclusive and flexible work culture".
"As a global co-operative, Rabobank's focus lies with our employees and clients, not shareholder returns, so people always come first," Ms Webber said.
To help accelerate the graduates' career development, each would be matched with a senior leader within the Rabobank business to be their mentor throughout the program.
Work experience rewards
Two current Rabo employees who can attest to career path opportunities offered to university graduates at the bank are Sydney-based Tim Felan and Moree's Felicity Taylor.
Mr Felan joined fresh from graduating as a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics in 2016 and is now national head of Rabobank's major agribusiness clients' credit analyst team.
Ms Taylor also a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics graduate, began the following year.
She has worked in the RaboResearch and Country Banking teams in Sydney and spent two months in mergers and acquisitions at Rabobank's global head office in The Netherlands.
She has worked in branches at Armidale, Moree and Toowoomba.
She is now area manager for the Moree region - and the youngest person in Rabobank Australia's history to hold this position.
Mr Felan said the job had been the "perfect fit" for him, having been exposed to farming from a young age and studying agriculture at university.
Ms Taylor said the graduate training and development provided to her when she joined the bank had been an "excellent enabler for an exciting and fulfilling career," she said.
"The network I've built and confidence I've gained from the breadth of exposure I had as a graduate at the bank has been invaluable in getting me to where I am today."
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