In a nutshell: I'm on Fonterra's two-year graduate programme, which involves learning about the manufacturing process and products, and the technology and engineering behind them.
Why? "I work on a variety of projects, meet lots of people, travel and constantly learn new things."
Tararua College, final year subjects: Calculus, Chemistry, English, Food Technology, Physics
Massey University - Palmerston North: Bachelor of Food Technology (Honours), specialising in Food Product Technology; Master of Dairy Science and Technology
Earning: $50-55,000 starting salary
Food Technology was my favourite subject at school. When I saw the variety of work we got to do, I was hooked. I had no idea what to do when I left school and followed my teacher's suggestion of studying Food Technology.
I got a Hubbards Foods Food Technology Scholarship for my four years at Massey University and a one-year Manawatu Scholarship.
We had to do work experience every summer. I worked in a supermarket bakery then at Fonterra Brands (the Pastryhouse), which led to my job at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre during my final years.
I work alone and as part of a technical team. I help solve any problems in the plants, do research, and work with operators in the plants. No two days are the same, which helps keep things fun and fresh.
On the graduate programme we do placements involving a range of activities: research, sampling and testing, product and process development, solving issues in the plants, managing groups and supporting high-priority projects. It's great working with the other graduates, you make connections for life.
I get to read and write reports, conduct research into new areas (which I love) and get heaps of hands-on experience – cheese making is awesome!
I travel all over the country and as Fonterra is a global business there is opportunity to work overseas.
You need to be keen to learn and it helps if you're a 'people person'. Although Science and Maths are base skills, logical thinking is just as useful.
The opportunities are endless. I could become a process or plant manager, a technical specialist or lead, or part of any of the wider Fonterra teams: operations, automation, business efficiency, natural resources, process and projects.
Posted September 2014
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