Connecting the dairy industry with high calibre students
The pilot Monash Industry Team Initiative (MITI) in 2015 was highly successful. Seven teams of students with a focus on engineering, education and information technology were embedded with five dairy companies to work on challenges specific to their individual businesses. This resulted in an increase in uptake by students and processors in the second year.
In 2016 10 teams of four students in the fields of engineering, education, commerce, mathematics and IT have taken up projects with the Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, Bega, Burra Foods, and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.
Need for engineering skills
As dairy manufacturers shift away from commodities towards more consumer focused products they require increasingly sophisticated skill sets in their work force to meet the new requirements. The MITI initiative was established to overcome the identified skills gap in engineering and the challenges dairy food manufacturers had in attracting high calibre engineers to the dairy sector.
By using the MITI concept as the vehicle, Gardiner Dairy Foundation aims to:
- overcome the skills gap for manufacturers
- attract students with sought after skills and provide practical exposure to the dairy industry
- build the dairy industrys profile as a viable and attractive career option
- build the dairy industrys profile as a sophisticated manufacturing industry
- enlighten graduates to the benefits of living in regional areas.
How it works
The three month program is designed to expose high achieving students to exciting dairy employment opportunities in regional victoria, while giving the processors access to new skill sets and potential future employees.
MITI embeds small multi-disciplinary student teams with dairy processors to address questions specific to that company on a commercial-in-confidence basis. It gives students exposure to the sophistication of dairy processing and the food manufacturing space while giving dairy businesses access to dynamic young teams focused on achieving creative and immediate solutions to their challenges.
The outcomes and feedback from students and the industry after the first program where overwhelmingly positive. Students shared that they would now consider working in the dairy industry, a career path they had not previously realised held so many career opportunities. While industry partners reported the experience was invaluable at connecting them with emerging talent and they would commit to the program in future.