Monash Industry Team Initiative (MITI)
Recipient Monash University
Project Lead Madeleine McManus
Partner organisations Murray Goulburn Cooperative, Fonterra Australia, Bega Cheese, Warrnambool Cheese & Butter, Burra Foods
Dairy manufacturers have indicated that they have difficulty recruiting highly skilled people to the dairy sector. This has subsequently impacted on the development of their engineering and other capabilities. This skill gap has been identified as an impediment to the future productivity and competitiveness of the industry.
Gardiner Dairy Foundation has taken a proactive approach to try and overcome this challenge by investing in the Monash University Team Initiative (MITI). This program places small multi-disciplinary teams of students with a dairy manufacturer to solve a specific company challenge over a 12 week period, during the university summer break.
MITI offers a unique opportunity for participating industry manufacturers to put forward a specific challenge in commercial confidence. Monash University and the manufacturer decide on a multi-disciplinary team of students at differing stages in their studies, who are embedded into the company and try to find a solution to this real world challenge.
Strategic importance to the industry
Involvement in the MITI program overcomes an identified industry skills gap by exposing, and hopefully attracting, high calibre engineering and information technology students to a career in the dairy industry. The program provides students with first-hand experience of sophisticated dairy processing facilities and an appreciation of what it's like to live and work in rural Victoria.
This initiative forms a major part of the Gardiner Dairy Foundations commitment to Post-farm Gate innovation.
Gardiner Dairy Foundation has partnered with Monash University and a number of dairy manufacturers to source relevant industry related projects for the program. MITI provides dairy processors with access to high achieving students that can bring fresh eyes and imagination to an existing problem, a resource they wouldnt otherwise have. Industry participants in the 2015 and 2016 programs included Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, Warnambool Cheese and Butter, Bega and Burra Foods representing 90% of the states milk production.
Program achievements to date
Gardiner Dairy Foundation has supported 64 students through the program in 2015 and 2016.
Manufacturers have reported significant benefits to their organisations, as a result of work undertaken by the students. MITI teams have resolved issues for their dairy industry partners in; waste management, environmental impact, natural gas utilisation efficiency, heat regulation and milk powder product solubility.
In 2015 the partnership between Monash University and the Victorian dairy industry received a BHERT Award for Outstanding Excellence in Collaboration.