Red meat leaders of the future wanted

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) is inviting applications for its prestigious scholarship programme from students interested in a career in the red meat processing and exporting sector following a major re-vamp of the initiative.

The popular scholarship programme, now in its sixth year, is focused on supporting highly skilled young people who have the potential to become future leaders in New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.

A maximum of three new undergraduate or post-graduate scholars will be selected for the 2023 programme. The selection criteria has been enhanced to focus on a smaller group of high calibre students preparing to pursue a career in the sector.

The undergraduate scholarships will provide $5,000 for each year of study for up to three years. The post-graduate awards are for $10,000 a year for up to two years. The 2023 intake will join the existing 10 scholars in the programme.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the programme was aimed at students interested in employment opportunities in the industry beyond the farm gate.

“There are a vast number of career opportunities in the processing and export sector from food design and environmental science through to marketing, food science and technology and industrial innovation.

“The New Zealand meat industry exports over $11 billion worth of product annually. In the past three decades, the industry has transformed itself, developing new products, adopting new technologies and automating production, and selling to new overseas markets.

“To grow in the future, we needs ambitious and highly skilled people. The MIA scholarships are focused on attracting well qualified young people into this rewarding and progressive sector and supporting their development into an industry that is critical to the economic prosperity of New Zealand.”

The industry is particularly interested in attracting people from lower socio-economic backgrounds or ethnic minority groups to provide greater opportunities for those with leadership potential who might not normally have the means to get to university, she says.

Alongside funding, the scholarships also feature a strong mentoring programme including an annual scholars workshop, connecting scholars with industry leaders, and assistance to secure vacation or part-time work with the New Zealand meat processing industry. Many MIA scholarship alumni have secured internships and graduate roles and are enjoying rewarding careers in the sector.

Applications for undergraduate awards are invited from students currently studying for a Bachelors’ or diploma programme or those planning to begin their studies in 2023.

Applications for post-graduate awards are invited from those undertaking or planning to begin a Masters or Doctoral programme.  The course of study must be at a New Zealand university or polytechnic (Te Pukenga) or an approved international university.

More than 25,000 people work across a wide range of jobs in meat processing throughout New Zealand and predominantly in the regions. The industry provides very competitive salaries, long-term employment and strong career pathways.

It is also one of the biggest trainers of New Zealand workers, with approximately 4,500 people undergoing NZQA accredited courses annually.

Scholarship applications must be submitted by 30 November 2022. For further details and the application form, please visit the MIA website or contact Kaylene Larking on 04 473 6465 or

For more information, please contact:
Sirma Karapeeva
021 256 5347