The “Meat your Career” website aims to highlight the wide range of opportunities available in the sector and shift the historic perceptions of what working in the industry is like.
The website includes videos featuring people working in the industry talking about their roles, a description of the types of positions available and guidance on remuneration.
There are roles in the industry for those without any formal qualifications or experience as well as for those who have completed training or tertiary and post-graduate study. There are also many opportunities in processing for people of different ages, stages of life and levels of experience – from school leavers to those looking for a career change or a return to the workplace.
Coming in at entry level, you will not require any formal qualifications as plenty of training will be provided, leading to formal NZQA qualifications. There is also the potential to progress to leadership/supervisory roles as well as apprenticeships.
Meat processing workers do a variety of tasks and are relatively well paid. An experienced lead hand can earn a salary comparable to a primary school teacher or registered nurse.
The sector invests heavily in training and upskilling and is the largest on-the-job trainer in the country. While we invest heavily in automation and technology, many of the processing tasks need to be done by a person and cannot easily be automated.
The sector directly employs more than 25,000 workers with the vast majority in regional New Zealand, where meat processors are often the largest single employer in many towns. The red meat sector generated $9.3 billion of exports last year.