WITH more than 100 career paths to choose from and a growing need to plan human resources to keep the $23 billion red meat processing industry sustainable, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation has launched an awareness campaign designed to attract staff to the sector.
The ‘Meat. Your Career.’ project is an extension of the ‘Meat. Your Future.’ campaign, discussed in this earlier article.
Providing jobs for around 34,000 people across regional Australia, red meat processing is the second largest employer by sector and the nation’s largest food product manufacturing industry, exporting to 86 countries around the world.
In order to meet future staffing needs, the ‘Meat. Your Career’ project aims to attract a variety of workers including school-leavers, TAFE, university and college graduates, residents of rural communities and migrants.
“‘Meat. Your Career.’ is an important project for us, as many people wouldn’t know about the benefits of working in the red meat processing industry,” AMPC chairman, Peter Noble said.
“It’s a dynamic industry that offers diversity and innovation, where employees can continue to earn while they learn – how many other successful industries can offer that?”
Additional career benefits in red meat processing include:
- flexible working hours to accommodate family commitments and an enjoyable lifestyle
- transferrable skills that allow employees to work across Australia and overseas
- the opportunity to work with like-minded people from varying cultures, and
- continuous on-the-job training.
Mr Noble said there were many paths people could take to a successful career within the industry.
“Whether it is via an apprenticeship, TAFE certificates, university degrees, college diplomas, job boards or even applying for an entry level job at a processing plant, once you’re in, you’re on the right path,” he said.
While there is the need to employ staff for general entry-level roles, the industry employs a number of people from backgrounds not typically associated with meat processing. Mr Noble said anybody with an open mind and the right attitude – not necessarily formal qualifications – could set themselves up for a successful career in the sector.
Success stories in diverse fields:
The ‘Meat. Your Career.’ Program includes a collection of case studies of young people forging a career path in the red meat processing industry.
Laboratory manager and microbiologist, Jessica Tunnage, who works at the Northern Co-operative Meat Co plant at Casino in northern New South Wales, is one of many success stories within the red meat processing industry.
“The industry isn’t just about meat processing; there’s the information technology systems, the science, animal welfare, human resources; it is all a part of a larger, successful industry,” Miss Tunnage said.
“There is so much that goes into it. Just ask the right questions and talk to the right people and you’ll see the potential we have to offer.”
Queensland University of Technology mechanical engineering graduate Ade Ariantika is another testament to the career opportunities available in processing.
The 23-year-old’s career has been on a fast-track during her three years at Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland.
Miss Ariantika took on the roles of environmental officer and graduate engineer before becoming a project engineer, managing projects ranging from $20,000 to $3 million in value.
She advises career-seekers to get a foot in the door in order to discover the opportunities available.
“I’ve found that once you’re on the job, you’ll learn where your passions really are,” she said.
“This approach works well in the industry as it helps you develop where you want to be, and there are opportunities to grow. You will be surprised at where you can go.”
Leigh Kane, a shift supervisor at Midfield Meats in Victoria, started his career sweeping floors in the beef boning room but is now in charge of 100 personnel.
Fresh out of high school, he tried different labouring jobs before landing his first job at Midfield Meats. After working a few roles at the processing plant, he decided to try other career paths including an apprenticeship in plastering and working in the mines, before returning to red meat processing.
“Initially all I wanted was a full-time job that paid well but what I have now is better than that,” Mr Kane said.
“I have a secure job, in a reliable industry that not only pays well but keeps me mentally and physically fit. To be able to work my way up the corporate ladder is something that I am proud of and will continue to strive for throughout my career.”