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Kirk Downie

Nine months in ...

Kirk Downie | Wed, 20 May 2020

As we have flown past the halfway point of the Rural Bank graduate program I found some time to reflect on the last 9 months of this journey.

Looking back to the start of February when I picked up and moved my life to Bendigo in Central Victoria to begin my professional working career post-uni. Originally coming from a beef cattle farm in South-West Victoria I had always had an interest in Agriculture and I saw this program as a way to give me an advantageous point to enter the industry in a full-time position.

I first got the opportunity to spend the initial couple of months of the program in the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) team which focuses on providing farmers with government funded loans at lower rates to farmers that are going through hardship (drought, flood etc.). It was a good entry point into the business as I felt like I was hitting the ground running and adding value to both the farmers and the company.

My next position was in the Internal Valuation Team with a focus on property valuations, this was done by looking at sales of similar properties in the area and determining a dollar value that is appropriate. This was a great team to spend time in as it was another chance to learn a key section of the business and to understand the key driving factors of asset valuations.

I then spent a couple of weeks within the Lending Services team with the aim to learn and understand what this team does, their position within the loan application process and what is required for them to complete their jobs. This was beneficial as I came into the program with the aim to understand and experience all the teams within the company and how they all fit into the bigger picture to leave me in good stead at the end of the program.

Afterwards I moved into a position in the Ag Insights Team. This role was focused on gathering daily grain prices from grain brokers and then transforming the data into a format that was readable by our system as we sent out daily text messages and emails with updated prices to our subscribers. I also did a bit of report writing in this rotation with a key focus on grain markets and what affects them.

At the start of September I was moved to Shepparton, also in Central Victoria, to join an office with a bigger focus on front end operations. I am currently helping write up applications for farmers to help service their financial requirements. I am working in an assistants capacity and I have quickly picked up how to complete many different tasks which are required before submissions are moved through the rest of the company. Being out in a rural area I am embracing the opportunity to get out on farm and building on getting some working relationships with our clients.

I am in Shepparton until the end of January where I will then move out of this warm climate back to the cold South-West when I will join the team in Warrnambool until the end of the program.

Looking for more?

Find more information about our graduate program, or read more graduate blogs.

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