Five chosen for prestigious MIA scholarship

April 2023 – Five young New Zealanders considering careers in the red meat processing and exporting sector have been
awarded prestigious Meat Industry Association scholarships for the 2023 academic year.

Five young New Zealanders considering careers in the red meat processing and exporting sector have been awarded prestigious Meat Industry Association scholarships for the 2023 academic year.

Hayden Corbett of Auckland (studying at Otago University), Stephanie Leamy of Palmerston North (studying at Massey while working for AFFCO in Manawatu), Cameron Walker from Dannevirke (studying at Lincoln University) and George Heenan from Invercargill (studying at Lincoln University) join eleven other MIA scholars in the current programme. The 5th student is Holly Gray from Wairarapa (studying at Massey University) who joins the programme on a joint PhD scholarship funded by MIA and New Zealand Food Safety Science Research Centre.

Every year, the Meat Industry Association awards a number of undergraduate ($5,000 per year) and postgraduate ($10,000 per year) scholarships.

The scholars gathered at Parliament recently as part of their educational journey for the programme.

They met with Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor along with key officials across trade, foreign affairs and the environment, and had a tour of Parliament, including attending a legislative debate.

“This day was an opportunity for our scholars to not only get a feel for the workings of government and policy development, but also hear first-hand about some of the areas the industry is focused on such as trade, marketing and regulatory settings,” says MIA Chief Executive Sirma Karapeeva.

“The scholars learnt about the red meat sector’s response to climate change through the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership and the use of the latest virtual reality developments being introduced in the sector for training processing workers.”

Established in 2018, the scholar programme has evolved over time and now includes a mentoring programme and annual meeting in Wellington.

A total of 50 students have been supported by the programme, with 16 students currently enrolled. Of those who have finished their studies and graduated from the programme, over half have moved into employment in the industry, either within meat companies or related agricultural roles.

“The red meat processing sector offers a vast array of jobs, ranging from processing, engineering, trades, sales and marketing or human resources, to distribution, animal welfare and many scientific and environmental roles,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“There are entry level jobs for those without any formal qualifications or experience as well as for those who have undertaken training or tertiary study. Internships and graduate roles are also available. There are also Representing New Zealand Meat Processors, Marketers and Exporters strong career pathways, enabling staff to progress over time from entry level to more senior and management roles.

“As New Zealand’s largest manufacturing sector and a massive regional employer, our industry is also an economic powerhouse.”

Meanwhile, MIA Chair Nathan Guy attended the Agribusiness in Schools tenth anniversary celebrations in Hamilton on 29 March, having championed the launch of the programme as a previous Minister of Agriculture.

The MIA is a key partner of the initiative, which delivers an agribusiness programme designed to prepare the best and brightest students for careers in the primary sector.

Offered at NCEA Levels 2 and 3, the course has been completed by thousands of students over the last decade and is offered at schools around New Zealand.

“The achievements of this programme really show what can be achieved when central government and the agricultural sector work together in true partnership, each enabling the other to play to their respective strengths,” says Mr Guy. MIA has invested $120,000 in the programme over the last six years and has a further $60,000 set aside for a further contribution.