A DEDICATED and enthusiastic group has completed an intensive one-week training program aimed at encouraging tertiary students to pursue a career in the agrifood sector.
The Sheep Meat Value Chain training program, expanded to include new entrants to industry, focused on sheep meat production and markets and was designed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Sheep Industry Business Innovation (SIBI) project.
The five-day residential program in Katanning and Albany was presented to 20 participants, the majority of whom were studying or working in the WA sheep industry.
DPIRD senior development officer Justin Hardy said the course, now in its second year, was run in partnership between the SIBI project team and the University of Queensland’s agrifood specialist Kim Bryceson.
“The course was a balance between the theoretical concepts of agrifood supply chain management delivered and facilitated by Mr Bryceson and an intensive ‘walk-the-chain’ process incorporating field visits and presentations from key industry practitioners and leaders,” Mr Hardy said.
“It provided participants with a sound understanding of relevant theory and technology, with topics including innovative marketing, the trends and challenges of meeting market demand and turning risks into opportunities.
“By successfully attracting graduating professionals, the course achieved its aim to influence their early career choices towards the sheep industry.”
Mr Hardy said participants experienced all levels of the chain from sheep production (genetics, breeding, and nutrition), feedlots, trading, processing, value-adding, retail and live export.
“This enabled the participants to consider a wide range of supply chain issues for both domestic and export of sheep meat including consumer demand and preference, markets, production systems, animal welfare, quality assurance, traceability, pricing, trust, business structures and product development,” he said.
“As part of their training, the students worked in groups towards a competitive presentation on the last day which looked at what the state of the chain was and what the future state should aim to be via a sustainable business plan.”