In a nutshell: Designing new food products for Tasti and working on process improvements to make things work better in the factory.
Why? "I really like puzzles and making products work in the factory is a bit like solving a giant puzzle. It makes things very interesting."
St Kentigern College, final year subjects: PE, Physics, Geography
Massey University: Bachelor of Food Technology
Earning: $40-50,000 starting salary
I knew I wanted to get into a science-related career but every time I asked about Food Technology, people gave me information about chef school or hospitality courses, which wasn't what I wanted. I took Food Technology at school and my teacher got me working on the achievement standards that were more relevant to my career choice.
I got a taste for the variety of work in the food industry during the summer breaks from university. One summer I tested imported herbs and spices for 'bugs' – microorganisms like bacteria or fungi – then the next I worked for a frozen cake and dessert company in Tauranga. That was great because I like cake.
My final summer placement was at a fruit juice and soft drink company, where I helped run tasting panels, looked at new ingredients and checked the quality of new raw materials.
I'm now a product development technologist at Tasti Products, a company that manufactures snack bars, fruit and nut mixes and breakfast cereals.
The most rewarding thing about my job is being able to take ideas from the marketing department and follow them through to a product that goes into a wrapper and out onto the shelves in the supermarket.
My job would suit people who are able to work in a fast-paced environment and who enjoy solving problems. I enjoy the variety in my day and the mix of independent and team work.
I have a number of projects on the go at any time and as long as they get done on time, it's up to me to figure out what I want to do when. It's a good balance between individual and team work. The team is there to help me and to bounce ideas off, for example when I'm doing a trial in the factory, but the rest of the time they work on their own things.
I appreciate the security and opportunity that comes from being in field where skilled graduates are in demand. I plan to travel in the future and Food Technologists are always in demand. With this degree, you have so many options for what area you can work in.
Posted March 2012
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